Recorded in 2008 and finally seeing the light of day thanks to Root Strata’s recent string of fantastic cassettes, Tom Carter’s All Ahead Now is brilliant in every sense of the word. From the opening moments of the tape, Carter’ jams brighter and lighter than any of his previous solo and collaborative work. Both sides of the tape loosely reference The Who song titles, so one can only hope this is Carter’s attempt to channel his rock heroes. Not to say the sprawling pieces here are renditions of ‘My Generation” or “Magic Bus,” but you can almost hear Pete Townsend’s windmilled chords serving as the raga drones common on the Houston player’s recordings, especially on A-side piece “Gonna Tune Right in On You.” The solo riffing fires playfully along like a long lost bedroom demo of the organ/violin/guitar solos of “Baba O’Riley.” Much like Yo La Tengo’s “Sunsquashed,” the song goes wanders along in an inviting groove, slightly shifting and morphing into something completely different by the track’s end.
“Go To The Mirror Boy” is somewhat of a return to Carter’s older material, but in a much heavier and darker way. The tune spaciously riffs nicely alongside Expo ’70 or Brainworlds, really any Sonic Meditations’ most out-there excursions. Densely packed with sustained notes rising and falling, the song hosts several complimenting melodies playing out in every direction. The piece isn’t as dynamic as the A-side and you can’t get a sense of a connection to The Who, but the mood and sound is essential Tom Carter. This truly is “metallic raga.”