Tom Carter's solo electric guitar work sculpts a richly varied landscape of immensely-stacked grit and beauty, weaving interlocking strands of visceral melody into towering (and often high-volume) long-form drones.
Born barely south of the Mason-Dixon line, and just in time for the Summer of Love, Tom Carter led a decidedly non-hippy existence being shuffled around various farm and mining towns in Maryland and Ohio by his newspaperman father, before finally making his way to Texas in 1985, just in time to watch all the good hardcore bands die. Already obsessed with American pre-punk and British post-punk, Carter dove into the lysergically spiked musical waters of Texas with both feet, augmenting his guitar skills with unreliable instruments, cranky analog electronics, and disintegrating practice amps. Over the ensuing decades, he managed to forge his evolving ideas of complete tonal immersion (and the quest for the perfect fuzz tone) into a layered sonic toolkit of rough beauty and unrefined proficiency.
Best known for his work with acclaimed iconoclasts Charalambides, which he co-founded with Christina Carter in 1991, he has branched out into other collaborations since 2001, playing and recording with long-term projects Zaika (with Marcia Bassett) and Badgerlore (with Rob Fisk, Ben Chasny, Liz Harris, and Peter Swanson), as well as in frequent collaborations with Bay Area sound artist Robert Horton. Other fellow travelers have included Christian Kiefer, Paul Flaherty, Tetuzi Akiyama, Shawn David McMillen, Thurston Moore, Dredd Foole, Loren Connors, Pip Proud, Inca Ore, Jandek, Bardo Pond, Starving Weirdos, Ensemble Economique, Steve Gunn, Robert Millis, and Matt Valentine, among many others.
Recently, Carter has focused on his work with free-rock improvisers Eleven Twenty-Nine (Carter, Marc Orleans, and Michael Evans) as well as his solo performances and recordings, which have increasingly featured visual components- including collaborations with filmmakers Martha Colburn and Margarida Garcia. He currently lives in New York City.
Carter has released dozens of recordings in every available format for many different labels, including kranky, Digitalis, Eclipse, Important, Root Strata, and 3-Lobed. His most recent solo release is available on his own Wholly Other imprint, which he has operated since 1995.
"Instead of macro-analysing which direction Guitar music should take in the 21st century, his interest is personal and seems to derive from the question what'd happen if one were to continue the last seconds of a Garage-Rock song, when the singer and the rest of the band have already left the stage..." - Tobias Fischer, Tokafi.com
"At the heart of Tom Carter's music lies a fascination with the acoustical possibilities of the guitar - not as a single instrument, a single voice, but as a multitude of voices, all waiting to be discovered through a little expert handiwork." -Fragil.org (French, translation from Visitation Rites blog)
"Carter shows he has no boundaries as he pierces the atmosphere and heads into deep space." -Foxy Digitalis
The Dance From Which All Dances Come (LP, wholly other, 2009)
Shots at Infinity 1 (CD, Important, 2008)
Shots at Infinity 2 (LP, Important, 2008)
Skyline Grinder (CD, Three Lobed Records, 2007)
Glyph (CD, Digitalis, 2006)
Monument (CD, kranky, 2004)
Root King (LP, Eclipse, 2003)