Carsick: Carsick
Drip Audio

Don't be put off by the odd name choice as Carsick, a group comprised of Inhabitants' JP Carter on cornet and Dave Sikula on guitar, induces anything but nausea on its 44-minute debut. The duo brings an equal level of musicianship to the new outing as they did to their Vancouver quartet's 2005 Inhabitants debut, with the two resisting the temptation to individually grandstand or indulge in cheap theatrics.

If Carter's playing recalls anyone's, it's Lester Bowie's (Carter's pinched smears and howls on the funereal “Old Yellow” and his muted bluster in “Ch-Chime” resurrect the audacious sound of the late AEC great), while Sikula's simple arpeggios anchor Carter's soloing on dreamy settings like “High Over Sand.” The horn player stretches out on longish pieces like “Fringe Bananas” while Sikula also impresses in the Frisellesque “Contrariety” and the lovely spotlight “Arrival.” They're equally capable of simulating the close-miked sound of a rodent-infested building (“Hall Rats”) as they are haunted meditations (“Fringe Bananas,” where Sikula cranks up the heat with gargantuan fuzz behind Carter's muted theme) and harrowing dirges (the twelve-minute “Rise to Downpour”). Like Drip Audio's last release, Tony Wilson's Horse's Dream, Carsick is obviously an intimate, small-group affair yet no less satisfying for being so.

February 2006