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Wilco’s Nels Cline Revives Nels Cline Singers With ‘Beam/Spiral’

Wilco’s Nels Cline has dropped a new song from his ongoing side project, the Nels Cline Singers, “Beam/Spiral,” off the upcoming album Share the Wealth, out November 13th via Blue Note.

“Beam/Spiral” is a sprawling composition that begins with an atmospheric, cool jazz feel, but builds steadily into a driving rhythm before exploding into a finale that feels both chaotic and concise. The track arrives with an animated video, directed by Yuka Honda, that perfectly matches the song’s exploratory aura.

Cline said of the song: “It’s got a little indie-rock flavor in there, particularly in the second section. That’s just a classic Singers thing — some pounding eighth notes and big chords. But the more opened-ended first section really reminds me of early Weather Report or maybe Wayne Shorter’s Odyssey of Iska — things that I wasn’t intending but just came out.”

This iteration of the Nels Cline Singers features some old and new members, including saxophonist Skerik, keyboard player Brian Marsella, bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer Scott Amendola, and Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista. The group recorded Share the Wealth over two days at the Bunker in Brooklyn, with Cline and Eli Crews co-producing.

“This band has never even played a live gig together,” Cline said. “So basically, the whole thing was an experiment. We recorded all these jams with the idea that I was going to take tiny fragments of them and create this kind of cut-and-paste, collaged, psychedelic record like an Os Mutantes record or something crazy like that. But when I listened back to these jams, I liked them so much that I wanted to keep them intact. And some of the most startling transitions, they’re not edits. They just happened in the course of these long improvisations in the studio, almost like magic.”

Share the Wealth marks the Nels Cline Singers’ first album since 2014’s Marcoscope, while Cline released two solo albums on Blue Note, Lovers and Currents, Constellations, in 2016 and 2018. Earlier this year, he released a two-track project, Gowanus Sessions II, with the pianist Thollem and bassist William Parker.

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