Various Artists - CR200
South Wedge Quarterly
Consider this a voyeuristic glimpse into what your neighbors have been up to. Small cities and towns across America all tend to have their own experimental music scenes and record labels. But it's rare to find them as uniformly dedicated and pedigreed as Carbon Records. CR200 marks the label's 200th release. It's on vinyl and cassette. And it includes exclusive recordings from several Carbon artists, new and old, all local. There's a wide range of material and recording quality among this set of (mostly) instrumentals. Some of this is rather poised, like Andy Gilmore's chiming guitar pointillism on "Clipper Ship," or the oddly tender power electronics of Dr Hamburger's "Twin Speak" And some of this is expectedly shambolic, though never predictable. Despite the variety in approach, it all hangs together rather nicely as an often breathless sonic document; the sound of your city's shadows. It even flows -- a debt owed solely to the label's curative skills and James Plotkin's expert mastering. You're very lucky to live in a city with a Carbon Records, even if you don't know that. Buy this LP or the LP/cassette boxset at Needledrop. Consider it a contribution to the untamed local arts. And then realize how lucky you are, indeed.