This is a second collaboration between Charalambides man Tom Carter and No Neck Blues Band feller Pat Murano. The pair had already made an eponymous LP back in 2012 but have now colklaborated again, this time at Carter's place, passing musical ideas back and forth, forth and back.
There are four lengthy improvisations using Carter's piercing, acid-lead guitars against Murano’s sympathetic synthesizer lines, the sounds of guitar, synthesizer and drum machine to dissolve into one another, often to the point where they seem to come from the same source.
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The super-duo of Tom Carter (Charalambides) and the intimidatingly prolific Pat Murano (No Neck Blues Band, Decimus, etc) joins forces once again this week, and this time one LP just isn't enough to contain their woozy nightmarescapes so they've stretched it out to two. Four Infernal Rivers' contains four side-long adventures in free darkness, with Murano's elusive electronic ambience and distant throbbing drum machine gliding ominously alongside some plaintive twinkles, fuzzy meanderings and ghostly, often unrecognisably processed guitar screeches and flutters from Carter.
It's not such a challenging listen as their previous single-LP offering, stretching out into languorous dark psychedelia in 'Phlegethon' with slinky, mystical guitar twangs poking out from Decimus's pulsing drum machine atmospherics and shuddering high pitched violin-like drones - the textures are almost Silver Mount Zion-esque but with a loose, meandering structure and some wah-drenched fuzz abstractions and swells of distortion making for a strangely uplifting with a slight Expo 70 vibe.
On 'Styx' too they're on surprisingly uplifting form with gloopily processed modular synth loops and euphoric distorto drones from the guitar, while closer 'Acheron' is a twitchy minimal dronescape full of palm-muted pedal notes and echoey squeaks and twitches, building post-rockishly into an amorphously twisting guitar and synth duel. My overall impression is that, given the artists' previous form and the hellish title, this is actually a surprisingly uplifting and energetic offering from the pair compared to their last one.
One of the best dark ambient/experimental records I've heard in a long while, the length may seem a little daunting (er, I mean represent great value for money) but both these big-hitters are on the top of their games here and 'Four Infernal Rivers' is utterly compelling throughout. The whole thing flies by in a darkly psychedelic blur. It's a genre-transcendingly enjoyable trip you'll want to repeat. Unique and brilliant.
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