Sometimes a trip can produce more than a few photos, a good story, and a souvenir t-shirt. Songwriter/vocalist Carla Bozulich
and guitarist Nels Cline
took a two-week trip through the Pacific Northwest and got an album out of it. Scarnella
(1998, Smells Like Records), the name of both the group that Bozulich and Cline
formed and the album that resulted from their partnership, was born on a trip that contained the beginnings of their work as a duo, four shows, six days of recording and mixing, and a whole lot of songwriting and improvising.
Bozulich and Cline
had worked together before in the Geraldine Fibbers
and both had stretched themselves in partnerships with other musicians: Bozulich in another band, Ethyl Meatplow
, and Cline
in the Nels Cline Trio
, and in collaborations with Mike Watt
, Thurston Moore
, and Charlie Haden
. However, both the unusual circumstances of the creation of this album and extra roles that each member had to play (Bozulich on bass and sampling keyboard, Cline
on drums) meant that this was a project that existed on the edge of their previous experiences. The result was a sound that alternated between the ethereal space of the open road and the noisy organized chaos of random improvisation.