Dedicated to a vision of spiritual music (in all its forms) as transformative force, Charalambides sound is uniquely personal and consistent, even through some outwardly extreme shifts in tactics - song-as-mantra, interstellar voids full of silence, or howling, ecstatically-received gnosis. For this first day of our Charalambides' weekend residency, Tom and Christina Carter will perform on the as Charalambides (The Sunday will feature their solo projects and various collaborations)
Despite occasional attempts by yardstick-makers to place them in any of the various genres that rose & fell in their musical proximity, Charalambides have remained dedicated to a vision of spiritual music (in all its forms) as transformative force. Their sound is uniquely personal and consistent, even through some outwardly extreme shifts in tactics.
Charalambides formed in Houston in 1991 amid a flock of fearlessly exploratory (and often drug-induced) rock bands, when Tom, Christina, and Kyle Silfer put down their beers and picked up their instruments. Eventually Kyle went home to New York, and Christina & Tom assumed the name Charalambides for what eventually turned into a flood of releases- beginning with 1992's Our Bed Is Green on their own Wholly Other label, and continuing with dozens of LPs, CDs, and cassettes on labels such as Siltbreeze, Eclipse, Time-Lag, and kranky.
Despite occasional stints as a trio (first with guitarist Jason Bill and then with pedal steel guitarist & vocalist Heather Leigh Murray) and flourishing solo projects, Charalambides remains constant as the core duo of Tom & Christina Carter.
From their 2006 & 2007 kranky releases A Vintage Burden & Likeness onwards, Charalambides has renewed their concentration on song-as-mantra (with intermittent guitar solos). But earlier recordings (like 2001's Unknown Spin) whisper of interstellar voids full of silence, or howl with ecstatically-received gnosis (2004's Joy Shapes).
Charalambides' live shows sometimes (and unpredictably) continue this latter thread, which often startles fans familiar only with the band's deceptively low-key reputation. Charalambides began playing sporadic gigs in 1992, making annual or semi-annual forays into other parts of the world from 1993 to 2005 (with the occasional year or two off). In 2006, Charalambides hit the road in earnest, touring the US/UK and making appearances at that year's Terrastock, Arthurfest and the Thurston Moore curated All Tomorrow's Parties: A Nightmare Before Christmas.
In 2008, after months of incessant solo and duo touring in the US and Europe, Tom settled in New York City, and Christina went to Austin, leaving touring aside (for a finite yet undetermined period of time) to concentrate on writing and recording. Their upcoming shows in Amsterdam and Hasselt (Belgium) are their first European performances since 2008.
Charalambides continue their recorded collaboration with Exile, a double LP of new recordings now available on kranky.
"On the band's last album, Likeness, Charalambides used old American folk lyrics like mirrors to both reflect the stains upon the country's soul and burn them away. The Carters are just as cognizant of these afflictions on Exile, but the struggles they recount are individual ones, and the tongues they speak in now are their own." - Bill Meyer, Dusted Magazine
"...musically, through two decades of working together, they've created a world apart. Though they've played with many like-minded artists and floated through a number of "scenes" ... their work feels wholly self-contained, never seeming to refer to anything but itself." - Marc Masters, "The Out Door," Pitchfork
"Christina has a beautiful voice, clear and bell-like. I've heard her influence on lots of women in the experimental underground music scene. I never heard anyone quite as vulnerable and as strong. It's kind of magical. I never get tired of listening to it. It's fresh every time I put it on." - Kim Gordon, New York Times
"Charalambides are among the most beautiful and mysterious groups to have emerged from the American desert. ...They have created a glowing template of humanist/mystical improvisation that has kneaded brain muscles from here to Kokomo." - Byron Coley, The Wire
Charalambides photo by mark 'harry' harris
THE MICHAEL FLOWER BAND
"Biker psych for the third eye rider"
A key member of legendary Leeds freak-out collective Vibracathedral Orchestra, Michael Flower's fearless explorations of sound have established him as something of a benchmark in the world of experimental transcendental music - both solo and as one half of one the intense psych/improv drenched Flower-Corsano Duo. He has also played with Jandek, Spectre Folk, MV&EE and Sunburned Hand of the Man, among others.
DEAN McPHEE is a Lancastrian finger-picking electric guitarist now based in West Yorkshire, whose gorgeously liquid, pure-toned playing is supremely evocative of the small splendours and grand transitions of the natural environment. His magnificent debut album proper ‘Son of the Black Peace’ has cemented the reputation won by debut EP Brown Bear.
“Dean McPhee’s debut conjures pellucid, iridescent worlds with little more than a Fender Telecaster, a tremelo pedal and a litany of liquid runs and baroque, improvised figures”. (MOJO Magazine).
“The hallmark of McPhee’s style is a picked bassline and free-ranging variations on melodic ideas via a mesmerising progression of harmonics, cleanly picked notes, full chords and string-bending arab-esques… Son of the Black Peace is a 37 minute gem of an album” (The Wire Magazine)
HITODAMA is the solo guise of Wigan-reared, Tokyo-dwelling drone obsessive Dave McMahon. Also known for the fun-size power-grind spasms of Shigai (with Narcosis Guitarist Chris Catterall) and the barbaric basement-bar noise of Jahiliyyah (with Tetragrammaton’s Cal Lyall), as Hitodama Dave coaxes serene yet seething marsh-light howl from a cluttered menagerie of analogue and digital FX. An especial treat for fans of Concern and Double Leopards.