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Daniel Carter/Reuben Radding: Luminescence

Though it was on his mind for some time, it wasn’t until he quit New York City (temporarily) and moved out West that bassist Reuben Radding finally got a chance to form a project around just himself and his longtime associate, multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter. The self-effacing Carter, known mostly for his work with Test and Other Dimensions in Music, had to leave most of his instruments at home in NYC due to the post 9/11 airline luggage restrictions. On Luminescence (Aum Fidelity) Carter performs on alto alongside only Radding; live at Earshot in Seattle for four tunes and in studio for three. Carter’s melancholy lyricism finds a perfect home in the lush and remarkably sympathetic bass playing of Radding, who is with Carter step for step. Radding shows particular skill playing with the bow, with which Radding crafts these wide, overlapping ribbons of overtones. Carter responds to everything Radding gives him, crafting short melodic lines that interact with one another, constantly evolve and even develop, at places, into moments of sheer beauty.

With time enough for a second West Coast recording, Radding and Carter invited Seattle mainstay drummer Gregg Keplinger into their orbit on Language (Origin). The recording opens with the raging “Speak Glow,” a tune temperamentally distant from the quiet meditations of Luminescence and an early warning that Carter and company are about to claim a much wider emotional and amplitudinal range. Carter lets more anguish into his playing here, often buoyed by Keplinger’s hard swing, but this music is still closely related to the patient and strongly crafted improvisations on Luminescence. Especially on the gorgeous, end-to-end solid 20 minute title track, Language gives the reflective Carter even more space and he takes full advantage. Radding keeps up his quality run from the other disc, and Keplinger fits right in, playing with constant energy that nevertheless refuses to overwhelm Radding and Carter’s strong connection.

Originally Published