Christina Carter – Original Darkness (Kranky) CD
Christina Carter is probably best known for her work as part of Charalambides – primarily a duo with her ex-husband, Tom Carter. Over the years, she has developed a uniquely intimate take on avant rock improvisation – one that powerfully evokes the kind of uncomfortable intimacy that must be inherent in playing improvised music with your ex.
To be fair, though, Christina’s highly personal musical language probably owes as much to the wide-open spaces of the American South-West as it does to the stifling confines of any dysfunctional personal relationships she might have been involved in.
So, throughout her work with Charalambides, Scorces and as a solo artist, Carter has developed a style of voice and guitar interplay that is simultaneously intimate and expansive. 2008’s Original Darkness may be her most fully realised expression of this style.
In some of her recent work, Carter seems to have made a conscious decision to channel the discomfiting naivety of legendary Texan outsiders Jandek and (to a lesser extent) Daniel Johnston. Original Darkness includes plenty of Carter’s familiar molten improv rock but it also occasionally switches to a much starker, almost didactic outsider mode. Observe the contrast between the oceanic bliss of “Hidden Man” and the stentorian tones of “Do Not Love a Woman”.
Both modes are equally affecting and Original Darkness is a considerable triumph. Christina Carter once again proves herself a force to be reckoned with. She also has pretty eyes.
Put a little darkness in your life – buy Original Darkness from Scratch Records.