December 9, 2018 – 5:07 am


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Click on the panels for a better view or to download jpg artwork.

With Thurston Moore
Santa Monica 1996 [no label, 1CD]

Live at the Alligator Lounge, Santa Monica, CA; December 23, 1996. Very good soundboard.

In 1997, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline and punk/art rocker Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth released Pillow Wand on the indie Little Brother Records., 2011:

“It’s been a while,” Thurston Moore said during an interview in the Easthampton offices of Wilco’s manager, Tony Margherita. Sitting next to Moore, Cline went back in time to recount the “Pillow Wand” origin story. It all started in 1996.

“My recollection is that as a fan of Sonic Youth, and knowing Thurston from when he was shopping at Rhino Records in West L.A. a hundred years ago, we were talking about doing something textural and something dreamy, so we were calling it the “Dream Guitar” project. And we thought a good metaphor for Dream Guitar was Pillow Wand, which was the makeup applicator from a makeup ad on TV in the ’70s.”

The two guitarists sequestered themselves into a West LA garage owned by one of Cline’s friends and recorded their “Pillow Wand” experiment. It was improvised, with a few, “agreed upon parameters,” Cline said, “and some dreamy layers, but for the most part it’s just two guitars.”

“We did it in about two hours,” Cline said, “and then went and played at Rhino records in the store, which was a different approach.”

They recorded that session, too, simply titled, “In Store.” Both albums are out of print now. Since 1996 Cline and Moore have only performed together as a duet three or four times.

“I can’t really describe adequately the process of improvisation,” Cline said, “but I have to say I’ve been listening to Thurston for many, many years and I feel an affinity with his guitar approach. I feel like when we start we just basically are in the sand box.”

“The idea of playing the guitar any which way, I find that’s my god-given right!” Moore added with a laugh. “A lot of it has to do with approaching the guitar in a way where we use a lot of implementation.”

In past performances the guitarists played with metal files, eggbeaters, electric fans and springs… “I always think to myself people must think I’m a total primate,” he said, half serious, half joking. “You know, I have yet to sort of come out of the water and walk.”

What can audiences expect to hear from these two scientists…?

“There’s a certain amount of shared musical aesthetic that might come into play,” Cline mused, “and then it might not. We might just put our guitars on the ground and watch them. We don’t really know because there’s no discussion. It’s really just about a love of sound, and that’s the point.”

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Thanks to Gary Davis for recording the show; Ted Mattes for sharing his source; dMonkey for the transfer; and to photoleon for sharing it the show at Dime.

Back cover picture (2012) by Chad Batka, posted at - Thanks!

DAT Master 16/44 > Audacity (trim, normalize) > FLAC,Transfer: PCM-R500 > digi coax > Edirol R-44 > USB > Audacity > CD Wave > TLH > FLAC

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Link. Due to the size of the file, please be very patient when downloading the track. It could be that the server was very busy. The track should still be around. Please try again later.

Kindly email us if you encounter persistent problems downloading the file. Also email us if you have any rarities you’d like to share with our readers.

Track 01. Untitled - Part A 9:52
Track 02. Untitled - Part B 15:45
Track 03. Untitled - Part C 15:04
41 mins

Originally shared as one audio track. Arbitrarily split here for easier access.

Nels Cline - guitar
Thurston Moore - guitar
Tom Surgal - drums
William Winant - percussion

Click here to order Pillow Wand.

  1. 5 Responses to “NELS CLINE & THURSTON MOORE - SANTA MONICA 1996”

  2. This is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re into actual “noise music” like the more extreme side of Sonic Youth, Merzbow or the “Arc” disc that Neil Young & Crazy Horse put out with their live album “Weld,” then this is worth checking out.

    For everyone else: it’s chaotic noise improvisation.

    By nobody on Dec 9, 2018

  3. Featuring the ALWAYS insipid Thurston. Why doesn’t somebody just kill him??

    By Kim on Dec 9, 2018

  4. Rumor has it this is a band of big uns

    By U L E on Dec 9, 2018

  5. I tend to agree that these men are most likely well endowed. As I’ve previously said ‘ it’s all in the hands and feet . Large hands and or feet usually means large penis .

    By Dee Dee Longley on Dec 9, 2018

  6. From the pictures they appear to all have above average sized hands .

    By Dee Dee Longley on Dec 9, 2018

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