Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Imaginational Anthem
Imaginational Anthem 2

Tompkins Square TSQ-1424


Follow-up to the first volume of this on-going series that joins the dots between an earlier generation of American Primitive guitarists and contemporary intuitive sound-as-thought players. Once again Jack Rose is featured (with an absolutely gorgeous 6 string re-think of "Cross The North Fork 2") but every other player puts in a first-time appearance on this volume. The inclusion of Christina Carter is a particularly inspired move and one that speaks of the liberated range of the series in general and her track is a beauty, a stubby acoustic guitar miniature. Nice cover snap too. Other tracks include a particularly mesmeric recording from UK guitarist James Blackshaw and contributions from Peter Lang, Jesse Sparhawk, Michael Chapman, Sean Smith, Fred Gerlach, Billy Faier, Sharron Kraus, Robbie Basho and...uh...Jose Gonzalez. Another rich, far-sighted assortment from this great label.


Beta-lactam Ring Records BLURR-2002


2002 10" from the world beating Charalambides trio of Tom and Christina Carter and Heather Leigh. Two beautiful improvisations that float electric string violence into barren desert territories. Hand-numbered edition of 500 copies. OOP.

Christina Carter
Of The Gutter

Many Breaths Press No Cat


"Incredible archival set by Christina Carter from a solo performance in London on 26 October 2004.  This art edition comes in a run of only 122 signed and hand-numbered copies with a variety of art paper sleeves in the usual Many Breaths style and is available exclusively from Volcanic Tongue.  Described by Christina as her ‘most broken and expressionist performance to date' this set features radically reworked interpretations of early solo and Charalambides material in a style that can be best described as deconstructed Texas blues by attempting to combine the voice, rhythm and slide guitar of these complex songs via a single solo performance.  Here Christina seems to be taking direct inspiration from original country blues slide players like Blind Willie Johnson and Bukka White while translating them to the present via a variety of aggressive playing styles filtered through the psychedelic blues of Jandek and Keiji Haino.  At times the playing reminds me of Bill Orcutt, not necessarily in terms of technique or sonics, but more in approach, the way the guitar is attacked furiously combining both lead and rhythm techniques simultaneously. She launches frantic flurries of slide notes while always returning to the root chord’s open tuning in the same way that Orcutt's playing always returns to that de-tuned bottom C-string.  The rhythm playing itself is anything but straight-forward with syncopated and staccato-styled playing of slashed chords.  You could imagine this as being a very physical performance with Christina moving and contorting between playing high-end slide and off-beat open chords that seem to continually resonate providing the songs' wayward rhythms and building intensity.

 On the opening track "Namaste" the slide playing gets particularly aggressive towards the end, with flurries of improvised notes sounding almost like Christina's interpretation of Heather Leigh’s wilder pedal steel work transposed to slide guitar.  The song is offset by a vocal melody that sounds as connected to traditional Celtic folk as much as country or gospel blues, giving the track a strange balance that reflects the inner conflict perfectly. One of the highlights is her interpretation of two classic early Charalambides tracks from Joy Shapes and Unknown Spin: "Here, Not Here" and "Voice Within".  The guitar playing moves seamlessly between delicate finger-picked melodies and crashing chords laden in reverb and echo providing a permanent wall of sound.  Slightly reminiscent of the atmosphere on Keiji Haino's classic Affection album and with a similar use of overlapping repetitive rhythms as on his recent Seijaku recordings.  This also really demonstrates Christina's ability as an accomplished guitar player with at times some slightly more eastern or Malian blues-sounding scales being used.  The more aggressive wailing vocals often heard on her Scorces recordings is also evident.  There is a wonderful moment where Christina moves between one of her falsetto screams and her softer tone when her voice breaks reminding us of the fragility of the performer herself. 
With so many of the recent Many Breaths releases focusing on voice and melody such as A Blossom Fell or even poetry as on Seals, it’s great to hear this other dimension of such an important artist. This is Christina as a blues-influenced solo performer jamming wild interpretations of the form in a psychedelic outlaw style that could only come from Texas. Highly recommended." - Andrew Ross

Various Scrawl
Pine Meoquanee: An Anthology Of Poetry

Digitalis 2005


Nice anthology of pomes from some modern days heads/musicians, the highlight of which is Christina Carter’s wonderful “Center Of Exits”. Also features work by Michael Anderson, Michelle Angelini, James Barrett, James Blackshaw, Julie Cook, Michael Donnelly (Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood et al), Sid Fallon, Spencer Grady, Denton Harris, Denton Harris, Robert Horton, Paganini Jones, Eden Hemming Rose, Brad Rose, Mainon Alexandra Schwartz, Indigo Tempesta, Kade L. Twist and Keith Wood (Hush Arbors). Hand-numbered edition of 120 copies. Each book hand-bound with cloth tape and a hard cover with a design by Keith Wood.

Christina Carter
Four Woman’s Quartet (Rose, Lilac, Mauve, Blue)

Wist Rec. Wistbook-011

3” CD-R + Book

Stunning edition of only 100 copies psych bomb from Christina Carter of Scorces/Charalambides et al: part of Wist Recs Book Report Series, the CD is bundled with an original Penguin Classic that has inspired the work, in this case Jean Rhys’s La Grosse Fifi, with a wraparound printed mylar dust jacket on the cover of the paperback and the disc mounted on the inside back page. This is as close to her work with Scorces that her solo jams have ever come, with some savagely beautiful single note guitar violence bisected by delirious overdubs of twin vocal bliss. Less of the spectral/forlorn slow blues style of some of the Many Breaths releases, this is a triumphal navigation of acid guitar and vocal hysteria, coming over like Patty Waters jams Rudolph Grey in Atlantis. One of Christina’s wildest and most grab-you-by-the-throat gorgeous releases, beautifully presented and very highly recommended!

Christina Carter
Character Study

Drawing Room Records No Cat

LP + Chapbook

Stunning new conceptual work, long time in the making, from spectral songwriter/guitarist Christina Carter of Charalambides: accompanied by a chapbook that crosses poetic musings with interrogative enquiry, Character Study puts the soul of the 21st century artist on trial across two side long meditations for electric slide guitar, tambourine, bells and dark, miles deep F/X. Hypnotically subdued, with an uncanny feel of being directed, Carter power moans and shivers her way through two ghostly blues madrigals that pin your heart to the floor, transposing the ‘weight’ of Patty Waters College Tour to the kind of parched soul terrain of a Jandek or even a Skip Spence. Stunning, late night soul poetry, highly recommended. 

Christina Carter
Masque Femine

Root Strata RS-093


Beautiful vinyl upgrade for what still stands as Christina Carter’s (Scorces/Charalambides) greatest solo side, originally self-released as a CD-R in 2008: the original edition of Masque Femine was a VT Tip Of The Tongue, prompting this deluxe revisiting. Masque Femine represents one of the most radically beautiful and confusing releases from Christina Carter to date. The music is all based around Christina's interpretations of a clutch of old-time standards and ballads, none of which she had actually heard at the time of the recording. Working from simple lyric transcriptions, she moulds spontaneous melodies and intricate guitar stylings from the disarticulated raw material of 17 tracks like "Love Letters In The Sand", "Memories Of You", "I Fall In Love Too Easily", "End Of A Love Affair", "Quiet Nights", "All Alone" etc in a way that is completely different but just as radical as Derek Bailey's Standards and Ballads recordings. The atmosphere is as up-close and intimate as her classic Many Breaths releases, with some tracks so phonetically deconstructed they consist of virtually nothing but strained, breathy syllables suspended above a huge void of throat. The more emotionally distressed readings come closest to Jandek's all-vocal trilogy, especially the claustrophobic diaristic environs of Put My Dream On This Planet, but elsewhere the closest parallel would be Patty Waters at her most formally advanced, space-whispering her way through jazz standards that combine soft, velvet settings and distressed vocal breakdowns. Her guitar playing is gorgeous and super-minimal, supporting her spontaneous channelling of song-forms with two-chord downs and spectral, minor-key substitutions. The combined context seems to be designed to raise questions over the nature of beauty (as something always essentially 'beyond' and therefore only fully 'knowable' via proxy), manufactured versus spontaneous female personas, the nature of the aura etc, all rendered with that amazing lightness of touch and genuine emotional weight that accompanies all of Christina's greatest work. Still sounds completely singular, a necessary vinyl upgrade, highest possible recommendation!

Colour Them Gone

Nyali Recordings #7


World-beating free music duo of Heather Leigh on pedal steel and vocals and Chris Corsano on drums, following on in style from their Family Vineyard LP. Once more recorded and mixed by Andreas Jonsson the sound is as dazzling as their debut, with three tracks that move from ferocious post-Sharrock power blues through new zones of smoky, spectral tone. The opener comes straight out of The Rocker, with Heather’s bad motor scooter guitar burning asphalt while Corsano plays in four directions at a time, ducking air raid warnings with an amphetamine dexterity. Second track, “White Spider” is a whole new bomb, with the duo navigating a kind of psychedelic giallo atmosphere with Corsano making like an orchestra of Max Roachs while Heather plays spectral strings and floating tones that are straight out of the Nicolai/Morricone songbook. The closing “Freezing Shark” might be the most radical recording they’ve nailed to the floor, with an unaccompanied vocal from Heather driven straight through the wall by Corsano before the guitar explodes like a heavy metal Masayuki Takayanagi playing future blues. This is such a great, invigorating shot from the source and it confirms a whole buncha things that are important in underground music: energy, passion, actual playing, speed-of-thought improvisation. Who else comes close? Hand-numbered edition of 297 copies. Highest possible recommendation!

Heather Leigh
Jailhouse Rock

Not Not Fun NNF-153


Deluxe vinyl edition of this classic solo album from Heather Leigh (Jailbreak/Scorces/Jandek et al) originally released in a tiny edition on cassette by Fag Tapes. Two fully-extended high metal masses for amplified pedal steel and vocals that blow all notions of form, fidelity and frilly fucking folk-picking fops to the kinda sweet metallic ribbons previously worn as crowns by Keiji Haino, Jojo Hiroshige and Teenage Jesus & The Jerks. Very different in tone and attack from the recent Jailbreak LP, Jailhouse Rock has a more amorphous sound, with muzzy smears of guitar caked in NZ-style fuzz and clouds of high string tone that conjure the miasmic electronics of Maurizio Bianchi. One of Heather’s most blasted sides with all-new nuts artwork by Heath Moreland. “Jailhouse Rock is in fact a wax reissue of a long OOP 2006 cassette classic on Michigan crud factory Fag Tapes. It was a fave of ours that year (and every year), so it feels extra celebratory to be able to offer up a freshly remastered (by Pete Swanson) LP edition of the album for global re-appreciation. Sprawling, long-form descents/ascents into mythic electric disorientation, powered by her trademark recipe of FX-soaked pedal steel and voice. Jailhouse feels loosely more aligned with a mid-aughts drone/noise aesthetic than the outsider dirt road Americana of her Devil If You Can Hear Me LP (also on NNF), but the distinction is a slight one. Side A swims in swooping sheets of vox and tempestuous wind tunnel dynamics before slowly dying away to wheezing disembodied harmonica. The B piece begins in a more overtly beautiful mode, a trinity of crystalline notes picked and stretched until they’re transformed into a rapturous sky of textural distortion. Sensual and vertigo-inducing in equal measure. Black vinyl LPs in jackets with brand new paint/collage artwork by Heath Moerland (of Sick Llama, Slither, Odd Clouds, etc). Edition of 400.” – NNF. Highly recommended!

Heather Leigh

Golden Lab Records ROWF-48


Stunning new amp-destroying solo pedal steel album from Heather Leigh: in the tradition of classics of the form like Fushitsusha’s The Caution Appears, the recording for Nightingale was so intense that it left no room for vocals whatsoever, and as such it stands as the premier document of the outer reaches of free pedal steel instrumentalism ever bled to wax. Recorded in Mono, direct to tape, the sounds has a dense, grainy, overloaded aspect that touches on Terry Riley’s tape-trance works while mainlining the guitar smashing part of Jimi Hendrix and pushing further into the free metal/third ear soundings that Leigh minted in collaboration with Stefan Jaworzyn as part of their Annihilating Light duo. Clusters of Takayanagi-scale tone violence flash in dense, gridlocked signatures of pure psychedelic overload, with obsessive, microtone thick motifs repeated to the point of oblivion and a raging country-billy feel that exceeds a fantasy Nanjo-produced Akiyama/Flynt summit in terms of the sound of true American Primitive. In the lineage of Sonny Sharrock, Rudolph Grey, Donald Miller and Keiji Haino, Nightingale may just be the heaviest slice of female ever channelled via savagely protesting strings and lays down a whole new now for the future of guitar as guitar. You never heard such sounds. Comes in a dazzling glammed up Richter-style sleeve with silver on black printing, edition of only 250 copies, won’t hang around for long, so make your move! Very highly recommended, naturally!