tom carter Long Time Underground (140g vinyl double LP, £22.50)label: 3 Lobed Recordings
Tom Carter is one half of the long-running and influential underground duo Charalambides. Solo album, Long Time Underground, is nothing short of stunning. While Carter shrugs off suggestions that Long Time Underground represents some sort of sea change in his approach to making music, this (along with its companion post-illness release, Numinal Entry, on Halatern) comprises his first solo work this decade. Long Time Underground, moreover, is the first solo studio recording Carter has ever done. Long Time Underground is almost unsettling in its purity. A collection of fractal guitar études, the album is comprised mostly of composed material some of which was written in the studio, some worked out in performance over the past few years. Each song was set down live without overdubs, and the result is an almost confessional intimacy. The sprawling side long opener ‘August Is All’ begins in a kind of languorous humidity, Carter’s bell like guitar chiming against a scrim of cicada song and building to a storm of jagged heat lightning before subsiding again. Carter’s guitar is painting landscapes here, conjuring a panorama in such vivid colours and textures that one is happy to idle there for a time. ‘Entreaertne’ is an electric prayer, set against the harmonium-like breathing Carter somehow elicits from his guitar. The bluesy, cascading dirge of ‘Carvedilol Cowboy’ has just enough swagger to almost count as rock and roll. The luminous ‘Prussian Book of the Dead’ slowly transmutes a hopeful, hymn-like progression into bright, buzzing angelic noise. (The song’s title, with its intimations of mortality in Berlin, promises something radiant, if not quite human, awaiting us all on the other side.) The album closes with an older song, ‘Colors for N,’ an earlier version of which appeared on Carter’s 2007 Whispers to Infinity CD. Tracklisting: 01. August Is All (21:51) 02. Entreaertne (8:02) 03. Into The Out Of (13:36) 04. Carvedilol Cowboy (4:35) 05. Prussian Book of the Dead (13:15) 06. Beauty Draws the Seed (12:14) 07. Colors for N (4:51). Pressed in an edition of 900 copies on Dutch vinyl housed within a gatefold jacket (with download).
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