Tom Carter & Loren Connors untitled

[Family Vineyard; 2016]

Styles: way out blues, rewilding music
Others: Alan Licht, Suzanne Langille, Mary Halvorson, Pat Murano

My favorite tracks from Elliott Smith’s first album, Roman Candle, have always been the ones just called “No Name.” No Name No. 1, No Name No. 2, No Name No. 3. Each one has a name, which is simply, no name. A recent release from improvisers Tom Carter and Loren Connors, untitled, seems to have even less.

There is no title for this recording, and there is hardly any music to speak of. It’s hard for me to say what there is. On these two tracks of electric guitar experiments, there is not one verse or chorus. There are no intros, outros, or refrains. Definitely no pre-choruses, and not a single bridge. There are no riffs, no licks. No little ditties. No lean beats, no big beats. No baby beats. Not a single beat. There are no words. There is no rhyming. No hits, cuts, punches, figures, bleeps, bloops, blips. Not really any chords, and certainly no progressions; no references, allusions, conventions, or clichés. There is no synchronicity. There are no arrivals. Zero critical theory, and absolutely no critique. It’s not really virtuosic or amateur; it’s neither pedantic nor profound. There’s not a single nest of noise and hardly even any silence. Melody is mostly lacking, drops are nowhere, habits absent, time forgotten.

There is some unform, some unspeed. Lots of unpitch and quite a few unpauses. There are undrones and undissonance, and unchaotic undelay. Undulations, unoscillations, unfeedback, and unfuzz, which sometimes unswells and then unsettles. Most of all, there is unmomentum, and even more, there is unrisk. untitled is the sound of something coming undone. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much: a recording that isn’t not something, but still is becoming what it was, instead.

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