Carter Thornton
Mapping the Ghost Vol. 2: The Dead Beach to the Church [CS; Soft Abuse]

A $7 cassette from Carter Thornton means at least $14 worth of enjoyment. Okay, much more than that. This latest collection of 14 years of stored noise and sketches is the latest emotional disconnect from the wunderkind. Explaining it is hard, as usual, because Thornton is one of my favorite low-key contortionists. Everything expected from the beginning of one “song” turns into something completely different, like a Sopranos dream sequence. The Dead Beach to the Church being no different, though the loose thread of death that holds this collection together does more than usual to point in a general direction. Yet, as we’ve come to learn the very hard way in the 21st Century, death is as tricky to maneuver as life. And boy oh boy does Thornton do it fluidly, though I do squirm and languish a bit because with the 2016 I’m having, death — even outside the mainstream — is probably my #1 “listen.” So this is a welcomed face-to-face with mortality, tinged with the go-for-the-light experimentation I need to not take my mind off the shit, but to meet it with a smile and some grace. Hell, even “Children the Size of Remote Controls” ain’t funny enough to make me disconnect from “The Dead Beach” suite or “The Dead University.” Something even as innocuous as “The White Highrise” makes me think. And all this thinking isn’t somber, it’s about how one artist can truly encapsulate an idea while completely making art that renders its consequences moot, even for a moment.

Links: Soft Abuse

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