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Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn / The Moglass - Snake-Tongued, Swallow Tailed

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Artist: Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn / The Moglass

Album: Snake-Tongued, Swallow Tailed

Label: Nexsound

Review date: Jan. 20, 2005

Ukrainian label Nexsound follow up their impressive Rural Psychology compilation with this split release, pairing up the duo of Tom Carter (Charlambides) and Vanessa Arn (Primordial Undermind) with native drone-scapers The Moglass for this nicely packaged release.

Predominantly employing lap steel guitar and a triwave picogenrator (a device which enables the user to produce a myriad of unearthly tones) as their sound sources, Carter and Arn contribute two brooding instrumental tracks, which at their most intense moments sound like Ry Cooder’s soundtrack to “Paris, Texas” run through a blender. While there are more restful sections, the overriding feeling is one of claustrophobia. Without the spaciousness that marks so much of Carter’s other work, a suffocating density gradually weighs the pieces down and, certainly, the overly long “Atmananda” never manages to achieve lift-off.

The Moglass’s sound is less organic, an all-enveloping fog of Coil-tinged electronics, punctuated by the occasional chirp of a bird of chime of a bell. There is an almost schizophrenic feel to their three selections, as snippets of well-known folk songs desperately try to emerge from the throbbing fug, only for the beautiful timbres of voice and violin to fall prey to the din. As final hopes for any last shard of melody drown, the industrial pulse grinds on remorselessly, until a final coda of strummed electric guitar and delicate keyboard bring the whole thing back to earth, as Godspeed-like waves lap against desolated shores.

By Spencer Grady

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