Boomkat Product Review:
“The second album of side-length improvisations, takes its title from a particularly foreboding passage of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. In other collaborations and in their respective solo work, Carter and Murano have often plundered such fables and symbols for fodder. Here, they not only attach the names of those mythic flows to each of these tracks but also use them as spirit guides; these 20-minute pieces are singular rushes of gathering and often-ferocious sound, built with guitars that scream and then scatter the blues and electronics that wade through fluid distortion and oscillation. “Phlegethon,” for instance, goes from eerie to irate, “Acheron” from quiet and pensive to clipped and impenetrable.The pair recorded their only previous release, an eponymous two-piece LP issued in 2012, at Black Dirt Studio, a comfortable space where each of their better-known outfits—Carter’s Charalambides and Murano’s No-Neck Blues Band—have previously worked. For this one, though, they met at Carter’s Long Island City house for several sessions early last year, congregating around his four-track. Aberrations that might’ve been buffed out in a studio, like the un-grounded amplifier hum at the start of “Acheron”, become subtle charms, intimate moments that put the listener in the living room as a kind of witness. Carter and Murano move past the hesitant and inchoate atmosphere of their earlier work into an unflinching, boisterous dialogue. Passing musical ideas, like the flickering tones that begin “Cocytus”, are taken to their extreme ends. Murano’s gloaming synth morphs into a sheet of caustic noise, while Carter’s shimmering notes spiral into a veil of high-end abrasion. Nearly 20 minutes later, when the track slow-fades into distant silence, you can hear echoes of that introduction, outlasting the intervening squall.That narrative quality makes Four Infernal Rivers particularly magnetic. These four improvisations evolve and surprise, but they move through their 20 minutes with a sequential logic that resembles thoroughly arranged pieces. During “Phlegethon”, they harmonize, Carter’s piercing, acid-lead guitar slicing through Murano’s sympathetic synthesizer line; it’s almost as if they’ve agreed to meet at this specific place but made a game of choosing their own routes to that intersection. When they split apart, Murano chases a set of decaying beats with damaged industrial tones; Carter, meanwhile, pursues a circular guitar moan, suggesting an incensed Loren Connors. They meet again at the end, steadily settling into stillness like the autumn dusk.Although they play different instruments across Four Infernal Rivers, Carter and Murano allow the sounds of guitar, synthesizer and drum machine to dissolve into one another, often to the point where they seem to come from the same mercurial source. And in a way, they do—from two experienced instrumentalists setting up shop at home, drifting into the same space and coming up for a break only when one side of the record is full."