Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Tom Carter and Eric Arn
Žive v Opave
Duo of Tom Carter (Charalambides) and Eric Arn (Primordial Undermind). A meeting of two American minds somewhere in the esoteric wilds of Czech Republic. Deep breathing guitars enliven a whole universe and rendering it everlasting. 70 copies.
Recorded live in Czechia, this meetup between two Yankee guitar wranglers seems blessed. Old comrades Carter and Arn play electrics here, gently plucking and wiggling their axes into lush near-feedback drones, and soft plucks dripping like melting icicles. The first side cycles restfully through some tentative interactions between the two, like sleeping giants waking up together (hungover and perhaps a little surprised). A wave of tremolo flutters rises and crashes from their amps, and the rest of the first side stirs and rises and falls like an uneasy ocean. Neither partner whips out any shredding or strong leading melodic lines, both opting rather to paint in broad textural strokes with the odd dab of rhythm, periodically allowing certain notes to poke their head above the surface.
The second half of the show on side two heads into raga rock territory, then out into rock rock territory. The duo strum and scurry over each other like conversing pandits, breaking into a couple of solos wailing enough to get those heads bobbing. They get more liberal with the pedals towards the end, and morph their guitars into a miniature Rhys Chatham orchestra for a final blast of blissful heavy strumming. Fans of either Arn’s precise and strange solo guitar records, or Tom Carter’s legendary Charalambides outfit should find plenty of joy in here. This is freeform folk music, electrified and shattered by old sparring partners. (The Quietus)