The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Austin Powell, June 8, 2007, Music

Tia Carrera

Heaven/Hell EP (Arclight)

Tia Carrera

Vous Êtes la Guerre (Arclight)

The gothic, Gustave Doré-inspired tri-fold artwork by Rachel Kolar that houses the Heaven and Hell EP is the key to Tia Carrera's latest improvised and metaphysical journey into the unknown. Depicted as a baby in utero floating in the stars, "Heaven," the pinnacle of this three-song session, captured on one reel of 1-inch tape at Sweatbox Studios August 2005 with stand-in bassist Jamey Simms, screeches and soars into the sublime for 15 minutes of Trinitarian transcendence. In "Hell," which looks like one of Dante's lost cantos, the melody to Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box" acts as Virgil, guiding guitarist Jason Morales' Sabbath sludge through circles of the inferno, while Erik Conn's drumming is an act divine, his best recorded performance to date. The untitled third song, portrayed as a skeleton in contemplation, gets lost in the void as the tape spins off its reel, abruptly ending the otherwise otherworldly drone three minutes in. Vous Êtes la Guerre, the accompanying 7-inch, limited to 300 copies of pearl-white vinyl and featuring artwork by Gorch Fock's Win Wallace, marks the final chapter. The local trio's cover of Lungfish's feral "You Are the War" breaks through to the other side, both spiritually, as guest Ezra Reynolds' swirling and psychedelic Leslie organ forms an Axis: Bold as Love with Morales' sonic wail and Conn's hammer of the gods, and literally, as the 12-minute scorcher fades in, then erupts on side two led by Andrew Duplantis' plaintive moan and bottom-end thunder. Paradise.

(Both) ***.5

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