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Alex Cline/Jeff Gauthier/G.E. Stinson: The Other Shore

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The Other Shore is a meeting of percussionist Cline, violinist Gauthier and guitarist Stinson in a live group improv that travels organically from fragile, Zen-like passages, where space becomes the dominant player, to dense sections of sheer sonic maelstrom (as on “Asunder,” “Left On” and “Driving to Iceland”). It’s no coincidence that their joint publishing company is named Radical Moodswinger Music.

As is usually the case with these kinds of highly experimental projects, the pieces unravel very gradually. In short, it’s more about creating textures, setting moods and smashing convention along the way rather than establishing linear melodies or compositional integrity. There are moments of melodic inventiveness by Gauthier, who sounds classically trained and open-minded enough to follow the flow of the music. And Stinson does have a knack for concocting waves of ethereal, trancelike sound with his digital gadgetry. Cline seems like he’s in more of a reactive role here, perhaps hemmed in by the precious nature of the project itself.

Too dark and edgy for New Age devotees and too soundscapey and swingless for the jazz crowd, this boldly subversive offering may appeal to fans of John Cage, David Torn, Fred Frith, Naked City and some of the more fringe artists on ECM, like Terje Rypdal or Torn’s Everyman Band. But mainstream listeners will probably not have the patience to hang with this severe and somber art music.