When: Mon., Nov. 30, 9 p.m. 2015
TOM CARTER | MONDAY, NOV. 30
THE PINHOOK, DURHAM—Instrumental solo guitar albums are often predestined to the domain of the mannerly. Some solitary picker pays tribute to a pastoral scene, the melody rippling in a fashion meant to suggest a memory or unfurling methodically in order to sketch an unspoken narrative. Blues and folk idioms fold into a polite, warm whole, with dissonance used only to express a particularly rough patch or hard time.
This stereotype exists for a reason, of course, but like most reductions, it's not entirely accurate. From Derek Bailey and Mary Halvorson to Six Organs of Admittance and Sir Richard Bishop, many such soloists twist scraps of jazz, noise, electronics and Middle Eastern forms into their pieces, pushing them firmly off NPR's idyllic back porch. Few do this better than Tom Carter, co-founder of New Weird America paragons Charalambides and a guitarist with an imagination rivaled only by his skill set.
Take the new Long Time Underground, issued in October by the Triad-based Three Lobed Recordings. There are some serene moments here. The arching "Westtown Shuffle," for instance, sticks to the core of a flickering, blues-based riff even as its tone sails off into an acidic flight of fancy. And the closing beauty, "Colors for N," is a blissful farewell, distortion melting away as each note hangs in the air. But the most electrifying turns come when Carter's guitar tone sounds little like a guitar tone; the microtonal quakes in the second half of the brilliant 22-minute opener, "August Is All," sound both like synthesizer squeals and bagpipe bleats. During "Beauty Draws the Seed," he sometimes conjures, all at once, the down tempo of doom metal, the piercing solos of Yngwie Malmsteen and the ecstatic beats-and-leads of Middle Eastern dabke. Carter turns in one of the year's great solo guitar records by refusing to be confined by the expectations of the genre. With Daniel Bachman. 9 p.m., $7, 117 W. Main St., Durham, 919-667-1100, www.thepinhook.com. —Grayson Haver Currin