Last year in November I wrote my first and so far only quadruple review on VoS in honour of experimental drummer Jörg A. Schneider’s collaborations series. This year I could take it even further, because since September he has released not only four, but six new duo records plus one album with a bigger band called Glimmen - and all of them would be worthy of a feature. Unfortunately I just don’t have the time for a sevenfold Schneider special, so I simply picked the one which is the most fun and strongly advise you to explore the rest of his discography on your own!
The first thing noticeable is that this album has a different kind of cover artwork than his regular collabs, which doesn’t include a very similar photograph and a project / album title like Schneider Shiroishi, Schneider Dahl or Schneider Rantilla. The main reason for this might be that this system quickly meets its limits when you collaborate with the same musical partner more than once and don’t want to end up in a confusing Old Man Gloom The Ape of God or Boris Heavy Rocks kind of situation. In case of his two albums with Michel Kristof he just kept the similar titles, but physically released the first one exclusively on vinyl and the other only on CD as a means of distinction. This however is Schneider’s second collaboration with Thomas Kranefeld, a guitar player from Berlin. And appearantly it is different enough in tone that they felt it needed its own band name. This sense of individualism stopped before dubbing the seven tracks on The Nude Spur’s self-titled debut however. Those are all just numbered parts of the poetically named piece “Sheriff, You Forgot Your Pants”.
So is this safe for work? Lyrically yes, obviously - because there are no lyrics. It’s instrumental music, improvised only on drums and guitar. So the story of what’s actually up in the Wild Naked West is completely up to your fantasy. And musically, well.. If you can work without being distracted or stressed by this kind of soundtrack, then it’s perfectly fine. Personally I’d only have to pause it during phone calls. But let’s be real: The difference between Schneider Kranefeld and The Nude Spur is only detectable if you’re generally receptive for this kind of music. And if you despise the style anyway these two rodeoing riders will make it very easy for you to recognize what this is in a matter of seconds and never let it near your precious ears again.
But of course I’m not primarily writing this review for those in need to be warned, but for my chaotic Jazz buds. Hello, fellow appreciators of the uncompromising improvisational outburst!
You dig the idea of a bubbling, strumming, squeaking, shredding, screaming and yeehawing guitar with a Bill Frisell tone meeting a basically permanently soloing drummer, who will seldom settle for an actual beat longer than a second? The Nude Spur will give you a full frontal exposure to it! This is a sound close to the John Zorn’s initial Naked (ha!) City idea of fitting as much sonic input into as little playing time as possible, but decidedly without that latter restriction. This would work as an EP with one or two dozen of forty-five seconds spasms. But it works even better like it is, as an untiring forty-five minutes assault! The only two dictates in place for the recording session seem to have been a minimum speed the duo was forbidden to fall below, and that no idea was allowed to last longer than it would take to say “Sheriff, you forgot your pants!” The difference to the also just recently released Schneider Kranefeld album probably only is that those rules appear to have been followed more strictly here, meaning that the relentlessly enduring level of randomly swirling energy is just a wee bit higher.
But given that the music rarely stays anywhere, is there ever even room for some kind of narrative to develop? I guess not, at least if you expect a story which starts at point A and takes you on an imaginary journey to point B. Instead The Nude Spur rather gives you that moment of embarrassed shock you would experience if you suddenly noticed you’ve gone outside without putting on clothes. And since this moment gets varied and multiplied into eternity you just stay frozen in this confused state forever. Or you read it completely different and put this crazy shit on in the company of your best friends for a fun little pogo party. Or both. However I have no recommendations for how much attire to wear for that party. You surely know better how close you are with your mates.