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Recorded together and originally conceived as a double-CD back in the dark ages of 1995, Carved Into Roses and Infinityland find the transitioning from the heavy riffs of Skullflower’s early days to a more free-form sound that continues to drive Matthew Bower’s many guises (Total, Sunroof!, Hototogisu, Mirag, etc.) to this day. The revamped lineup of Bower, Stuart Dennison, Russell Smith (of UK scuzz legend Terminal Cheesecake) and Phillip Best whacks away at both styles simultaneously, with lumbering hooks meeting rainbows of coruscating feedback. Both records start with lengthy, two-chord modal jams, anchored by the guest organ of Simon Wickham-Smith. “Pipe Dream” and “The Idiotsburgh Address” sport structures that wouldn’t have been out of place on a 1960s Pharoah Sanders album, but with the spiraling sound of Bower and Smith’s guitars tearing up the sound bed. The two-guitar / no-bass configuration sounds at times like a UK version of The Dead C. “White Fang’s” slashing riff and Michael Morley-style vocal are a tip of the hat to the New Zealand band’s (essentially contemporaneous) key works. Elsewhere, the classic drone and low-end menace of “Abraxas” and “Blood Orange,” the galloping drum signatures on “Metallurgical King” and the live mayhem midway thru Carved make it clear that this was a real working outfit that laid down a distinct statement of purpose and identity on these two records. The Singles disc collects both sides (over 50 minutes) of the four 7-inch records that were released around the same time and made largely by the same lineup. Not exactly a “singles band,” Skullflower nevertheless has more than a dozen releases on the format. The alternate take on “White Fang” is even more jagged and crackling than the one on Infinityland. “Choady Foster” and “Spent Force” are huge pools of sound. Among these more straightforward tunes are oddities like the live version of “Metallurgical King,” and the two sides of the Village Sorting single, a studio recording featuring Tim Hodgkinson (Henry Cow, the Work) blowing the roof of the place on alto.