Nels Cline's improvisational guitar expertise has crossed musical "boundaries"-the avant/noise-rock of Mike Watt, Thurston Moore and The Geraldine Fibbers and the probing jazz ensembles of Tim Berne, Vinny Golia and Gregg Bendian have all been enriched by his rich, unpredictable sound. THE INKLING, though most of the tunes are by Cline, is a collaborative effort including harpist Zeena Parkins, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Billy Mintz. Though this is clearly not "easy" listening, Cline and company create a very inviting tapestry of free-flowing avant-garde sound. "New Old Hat" is a very pretty acoustic piece that would not be out-of-place on a Michael Hedges or Ralph Towner album-classical picking over shifting improvisational bass.
"Moth Song" shimmers like a desert mirage and "Cork Farm" features Parkins and Dresser (each a masterful improvisor) using extended techniques (unusual tuning and playing methods) to coax questing, spacious and other worldly reverberations from their instruments. Cline runs the gamut here, from delicate, lyrical acoustic playing to blustery clusters of sound. Here, universes are destroyed & then reborn. Lovers of Derek Bailey at his most "inside," John McLaughlin & Bill Frisell at their "out-est," Sonny Sharrock, John Zorn and the early/mid-70s era of ECM Records will find a lot to enjoy here.