Growing up reading the sacred pages of The Ptolemaic Terrascope, I was trained early on to jump whenever a release by the Charalambides or either of Tom or Christina Carter appears. This instinct was certainly the correct one to have for their latest record, Tom and Christina Carter.
Across four vinyl sides, the Carters weave a haunting spell of mostly just moody, smoky guitar and free-form vocalizations that together create an eerie and haunting vibe that transfixes the listener from start to finish.
While the combination of mainly guitar and vocals may feel a bit simplistic, the Carters make every note, every second of recorded sound count. The pair here generates vast mountains of tension and melancholy through the barest and subtlest of elements. That coupled with the largely improvisational feel of the songs help to make this record feel deeply intimate. It sounds as though you’ve dropped into a private rehearsal at the artists’ home.
Some highlights of the double album include the 20-minute opener, “Runaway,” which is a minimalist psychedelic soundscape of ethereal distorted guitar and what sounds like a shaky accordion or melodica, and the buzzing drone-storm that is “Life and Death.”
If you’re new to the hazy world of the Carters, this album fits nicely among the likes of Neil Young’s Dead Man soundtrack, the work of Matt Valentine and Erika Elder as well as the recent acts on VDSQ Records, like Wendy Eisenberg.
For best results, you may want to put this otherwordly album on as the sun starts to set and the sky around your erupts into all sorts of vivid colors, before fading into the darkness of night.