ometimes you just get lucky. I had the pleasure of being fed up with music a few weeks ago and began to download tracks from artists that I had neither heard of nor cared to know about from a friend of mine without asking for recommendations. I knew he had good taste, usually, so I didnt mind taking the chance with his collection.
The word Charalambides looked intriguing so I double clicked and sent the files to my hard drive and went away from the computer for a while. Coming back later that evening I was still frustrated, unable to decide on anything to listen to. And then came these files again, peering between other albums that I plan to review someday and mp3s of the latest Justin Timberlake album (its great, by the way). So I popped it on at approximately 12:45 AM and proceeded to scare myself witless.
The split release between Charalambides and Scorces in question is flat out otherworldly improvisation. Ringing guitar tones- unable to sustain full notes, cut off before they begin mix with miniscule pieces of guitar debris into a disturbing pattern on the first track. This instrumental backing placed with Christina Carter and Heather Murrays wordless vocalizations seem to be emerging from an evolutionary distance, the scattered pieces of a great pop song broken into millions of shards. This is the deconstruction of something beautiful, no doubt, but in its destruction instead of one large picture full of gorgeous sound we now have millions of even more brilliant tones fighting to be recognized. Its a quiet recitation, fully aware of its power, yet never releasing it. Its, quite simply, the most stunning, jaw-dropping even, piece of music Ive heard this year.
But that was a month ago. And Ive delved deeper into the catalogue to find that, amazingly, a large portion of their releases are varied in volume, texture, and tone; but all maintain the same level of majestic musicianship and control.
The group has been around for about ten years at this point and shows no signs of letting up their extensive and prolific recording schedule. As their releases become more and more widely available, and off the infernal CD-R format and onto the Kranky label, this group is sure to become a major force in the improvisation arena.
Current members: Tom Carter, Christina Carter, Heather Murray
Style: Guitar and Voice Improvisation
Labels Appeared On: Seagrave, Fleece, Broken Face, Camera Obscura, Carbon, Timelag, Wholly Other
Starting Point: Untitled CD-R with Scorces (2002)
Essential: Historic 6th Ward2 (2002)