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CARLTON MELTON

Carlton Melton

Turn To Earth

    Northern California psychedelic sorcerers Carlton Melton are brain surfers, mind trippers, … “psychlists,” if you prefer. The band will take your head for a ride, occasionally rushing at superluminal speeds through a wormhole or gliding softly on a gentle breeze in a leafy glade. Sometimes your brain needs to rage, and sometimes it needs to repose.

    For a decade and a half, the band has yo-yo’ed, almost schizophrenically, between these two modes: walloping space jams with furious guitar solos in one hemisphere of the brain and ethereal, feather-light splashdowns in the other. Not to mention a track here and there that builds from the latter into the former.

    But with two new releases in 2023, the band has evolved. Whether psych rock or ambient trance, their sound remains driving, organic, and flowing. With the addition of Anthony Taibi (White Manna, DDT), however, the group’s metal freak-outs are Hawkwindier and their droning kraut trances are Spacemen 3-er. In January, the quartet released the playfully spacey Resemble Ensemble, recorded in Taibi’s home studio 3D Light. October now sees the band Turn To Earth, a work with scents of Autumn, a season of death and transition. The cover art evokes a vine-covered, electric crucifix. The sound is, well, earthy but also gritty and striving towards change. The album was recorded in Fall 2022 and now harvested in Fall 2023.

    Phil Becker (Terry Gross, Pins Of Light) contributed drums and percussion to a few tracks on Turn To Earth, recording the album at El Studio in San Francisco. With Becker at the helm, the synths have become more prominent (“Cosmicity,” “Roboflow,” “Migration”) and the tone heavier on the doom (“Cloudstorming,” “Unlock The Land,” title track): several moments could even serve as background music for epic dark fantasy films like Conan the Barbarian, Fire and Ice, or Heavy Metal.

    As exquisite as Turn To Earth is, Melton are best appreciated as a live act: their recordings as well as their gigs are largely improvised – not so much composed as birthed. And yet their most recent tour ended abruptly and perilously. The group had to cancel its final three shows once members were admitted to Arnhem hospital in the Netherlands. Five years later, reinforcements have strengthened the band and restocked its arsenal of great tracks.

    After the rockus interruptus of that 2018 tour and the tantric tease of the intervening Covid lockdown, Melton have some unfinished business. An October 2023 tour is poised to set the freshly minted quartet back onto the stages of Europe and within the cerebral folds of its fans.

    Turn To Earth, sure … but keep your head in outer space.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: You know where you are with a blast of Carlton Melton. It's slowly growing psych, with sounds twisting and turning and weaving into a psychedelic monolith. 'Turn To Earth' does not disappoint, it too grows into a soaring grooving behemoth, with the help of White Manna's Anthony Taibi, bringing his airy lysergic groove to the mix of standout musicians.

    TRACK LISTING

    01. Turn To Earth
    02. Cloudstorming
    03. Vanquished
    04. Cosmicity
    05. Canned Head
    06. Sundering
    07. Unlock The Land
    08. Roboflow
    09. Last Times
    10. Migration
    11. Mutiny 

    Carlton Melton

    Resemble Ensemble

      Carlton Melton, from Northern California, are now a practising fourpiece in the arts of melted-minds psychedelia. With the added kraut-oomph and sike-flutter of fellow Californian Anthony Taibi (whom you may know as being a member of White Manna, and also DDT with Andy) Rich Millman, Andy Duvall, and Clint Golden have now embellished the Carlton Melton sound. Pushing forward as a fourpiece, the band recorded Resemble Ensemble in July 2021 (just before Andy moved back over East!) at Anthony’s home studio, 3D Light in Freshwater, CA. Anthony did all the recording and mixing. The Melton Magick Karpet settled, and our favourite contemporary sikedelic warlods plugged in, amped up and let it flow.. and flow it does. .from the krautrock fuelled pszych-raga of Prescribed Skies, the fluid dronescape of Elsewhere that welcomes you into its arms with a warming tone, almost a missing Spacemen 3 demo at the feast here… So The Story Grows has the drone scraping through a murk of dazzling feedback and pummel, with the fuller sounding Melton giving the genre a proper wobble, hold on to your brains people… High Alert.. whas this? Synth and guitar interplay jambusting, this is the Melton wigging out and almost interweaving 70s high table rock with some odd and downright perverse synthfunkpunk rhythms.. get weird.. or get wired..or both.. easily done here.. Closing out the album with Route Thirteen is the road trip home.. they’ve been, they’ve massaged and mangled your synapses, plug in the satnav and take the higher-route home.. if you get our drift.. Carlton Melton, starting 2023 in a better place than most, soaring high on their synaptic-dazzling magick karpet…

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Martin says: San Franciscan trio Carlton Melton have always, and will always be mind melters. Their unique brand of floating psychedelia has both moments of tension and grit as well as soaring, lysergic looseness. Soaring, beautifully rendered and perfectly measured as ever. Classic CM.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Prescribed Skies
      2. Elsewhere (Need To Be)
      3. So The Story Grows
      4. High Alert
      5. Route Thirteen

      Carlton Melton

      Where This Leads

        Agitated is more than pleased to announce the long over-due return to wax (and CD) by Carlton Melton, the new album from San Franciscan / Northern Californian space-trippers is here, and its ready to tune you out and turn you on.

        Nestled deep in the forests of Mendocino County in Northern California, huddled under the protective shade of towering redwoods and within earshot of frothy waves crashing against the Pacific coastline, squats a geodesic dome that has served as crucible for the experimental genius of Carlton Melton. Nature and Man operate under different logics. But here, Carlton Melton wholly entrusts this idyllic environment with the task of inspiring and guiding their musical improvisations.

        The Dome has been the ideal setting to facilitate their creativity. Without forcing a specific dynamic or theme, the band inhabits its womb-like confines to improvise, explore, dream. Their music draws on psychedelia, stoner metal, krautrock, and ambient atmospherics to convey, above all else, a mood.

        A prickly guitar melody will float lazily, a wall of dissonant feedback will resolve into a hypnotic drone, or a colossal riff will exhume the soul of Jimi Hendrix. One hears Hawkwind or Spacemen 3 jamming with Pink Floyd at Pompeii.

        Indeed, Carlton Melton have one foot in the ancient world and one tentacle in deep space. They are both the pack of proto-humans drumming with femurs in Kubrick’s 2001 and the film’s inscrutable monolith hinting at the universe’s mysteries. The “Stoned Ape” theory holds that early hominids ingested psychedelic mushrooms that provided an evolutionary boost to their brains, helping them blossom into Homo Sapiens. Imagine such cavemen trippin’ balls, their nightmarish visions sending them into feverish bouts of rage and then gentle moments of introspection. They very well could have heard the music of Carlton Melton rattling inside their skulls, first driving our ancestors mad then upward into a higher realm.

        Andy Duvall (drums, guitar), Clint Golden (bass), and Rich Millman (guitar, synths) have yet to play Pompeii, but they have already wowed crowds at European festivals such as the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, Roadburn, and Desertfest Antwerp. Live, they are jaw-dropping. On record, mind-altering.

        In fact, with each album, Carlton Melton adds a subtle new element, synapses firing new neural connections. In 2020, they release new full-length Where This Leads, marking ten years of the band’s working relationship with their UK label Agitated Records and five years of recording with Phil Manley in his El Studio in San Francisco. With Where This Leads, the band rewires the listener’s mind. “Smoke Drip Revisited” is a ticklish acid flashback, “Porch Dreams” a dabbling in country psych, and “Closer” a driving, freak-out of guitar heroics.

        One senses that the group is conveying a message that cannot be expressed verbally but only suggested through synth sighs, walloping rhythms, and soaring solos. Would Carlton Melton therefore be a group of stoned apes dizzily grasping for meaning or telepathic futurists communicating to us through crude man-made instrumentation?

        Well, lower the stylus to find out.
        - Eric Bensel, Paris July 2020

        TRACK LISTING

        1. The Stars Are Dying
        2. Butchery
        3. Waylay
        4. Dezebelle
        5. Smoke Drip Revisited
        6. Crown Shyness
        7. Three Zero Two
        8. Porch Dreams
        9. Closer

        This will be Carlton Melton's first full length release since 2015’s widely lauded “Out To Sea” double opus, itself a languid drifting of drones and psychedically enhanced riffmongering. Sure, there's been some long EP releases since.. .Hidden Lights in 2017 (featuring the immeasurable drone sike float on “Rememory”) and Aground in 2016 (a companion, the Desert Island weather beaten psych-flow follow up to Out To Sea), now it’s time to soak up...Mind Minerals.

        Mind Minerals finds Carlton Melton in fine fettle, all the songs were recorded and engineered at El Studio in San Francisco by Phil Manley on September 3rd and 4th 2016 (except 'untimely' - recorded at the Dome by Brian McDougall), the studio setting suits them -- a logical progression from a weekend’s recording out at the Dome.

        Under Manly’s watchful ear/eye, Carlton Melton have created a futurescape soundtrack..,a “3001 Space Oddyssey”. The drums are more pounding and direct than before, the constantly re-assuring bass creates a helping hand to propel you through the clouds of static and shards of electrifying guitar dazzling your horizon. Synths help soothe the sharp edges and lull you into some out of body experience whilst and orchestrated calamitous scree pulls you back…. This is a breathless, yet deep breathing album. It demands full immersion...

        Searing guitar piercing the drone with relentless power, the core trio of Carlton Melton; Andy Duvall (drums/guitar), Clint Golden (bass guitar), and Rich Millman ( guitar/synth), have some alchemical bond that’s helped them create a post-rock / psychedelic / freeform organic slab of American Primitivism / space drift , this is unashamed head-music from the melting pot of Northern California.. 5 decades ago this album would have been released on the ESP Disk Label or even Apple…there would have been no helter skelter if the desert Hippies had locked onto these vibes, plug in, turn on, tune out..float free.. Carlton Melton can provide your own aural microdose to reset your Mind / Psyche!!

        Andy Duvall plays juno synth on 'the lighthouse'
        Special guests:
        Phil Manley - juno synth on 'snow moon' and 'sea legs' / Guitar on 'eternal returns' and 'psychoticedelicosis'.
        John McBain - guitar on 'electrified sky' and 'way back when' / synth/mellotron/guitar on 'atmospheric river'.

        All songs mastered by John Mcbain at JPM mastering.
        Cover artwork is “Walls” (2013) by Andy Vogt.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Hypnotic swells of strummed guitars, camouflaged with the scream of a thousand delays fighting a thousand reverbs in space, breaking out into beautifully languid streaks of light in an otherwise foreboding musical landscape. Beautiful, ambient bliss.

        TRACK LISTING

        01. Untimely
        02. Electrified Sky
        03. The Lighthouse
        04. Eternal Returns
        05. Snow Moon
        06. A Basketful Of Trumpets
        07. Sea Legs
        08. Way Back When
        09. Climbing The Ladder
        10. Atmospheric River
        11. Psychoticedelicosis

        “Out To Sea” is the most focussed of all Carlton Melton’s recordings to date: the voyage is long; the voyage is joyous.

        Leaving their geodesic dome behind, they hitched their magick karpet to San Francisco’s El Studio for a fried weekend in July 2014 with The Fucking Champs / Trans Am’s Phil Manley at the production helm and occasionally contributing to the furore. Phil Manley plays guitar on “Similarities” and synth on “Peaking Duck”

        Out To Sea sees Carlton Melton expanding their vision of the psychedelia and free outrock sound of their previous output and push to their furthest horizons using waves of sound - from huge pounding rhythms, outta space riffage, gentle synth wave-riding, pastoral passages, searing shards of molten guitar, smothered ambience and gentle flowing guitar picking – to lap at the shores of your senses.

        For fans of: Space travel, the Heads / Kandodo, Faust / Funkadelic, the Kon Tiki Expedition, Parson Sound, Flotation tanks, Bong, Bardo Pond, float on, float on.......

        We’re gonna need a bigger boat. 

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Peaking Duck
        2. Wheel And Deal
        3. Diamond In The Rough
        4. Out To Sea
        5. Amfmpm
        6. Too Close To Home
        7. Similarities
        8. It?s Been Summer All Winter
        9. The Barrier
        10. Perdiddle
        11. Realms

        Carlton Melton & Kandodo 3

        Split

          Carlton Melton lead the charge with three new tracks, recorded at the Dome with Brian MacDougall taping it down and John McBain mastering it for vinyl perfection. This is the Melton soaring into the stratosphere with their own take on spaced travel via olfactory motion. Many would simply say "psych", we say "SPACE" and "NO frontiers!", fly on brothers.

          Kandodo 3 is the new "nom de plume" for Simon Price's (The Heads) Kandodo project, having roped in fellow Heads' Wayne Maskell (drum patterns and rhythm driving) and Hugo Morgan (bass throb and guidance) to record under the name Kandodo 3. They take up their whole side with one looping soundscape that jitters and skitters into and around patterns of dub and space, this exhilaratating take on an already pre-determined trajectory is as awesome in its scope as it is in its journey, catch a ride! Mastered by Shawn Joseph (Optimum)

          Simon Kandodo Price artwork..... 500 copies only on blue coloured vinyl.

          Carlton Melton

          Photos Of Photos

            On their third album, Carlton Melton elevates their organic, improvised psych-jams to the sonic plane befitting the geodesic dome in which it was recorded, pulverizing all psychedelic hypno-drone that has come before.

            Mastered and featuring John McBain (Monster Magnet, Well Water Conspiricy) Photos of Photos sees Carlton Melton take their organic improvised psych-jam to the highest sonic plane befitting the geodesic dome in which it was recorded and pulverizing the psychedelic hypno-drone that has come before. Photos of Photos is a testament of Carlton Melton’s ability to bottle and hone their craft with sincerity – from the lush pastoral sonics of ‘Nor’ Easter’ and title track, ‘Photos of Photos’ the smoldering gargantuan riffs of ‘Space Treader’ and the synth drones and spare rhythms of LP closer ‘Wingspan’. Carlton Melton meld -what could be a heavy indecipherable psychedelic mess - into something louder, more uncompromising and more coherent: 'Melton’s Magick Karpet ride’.

            Bonus tracks (available on CD and download) - featuring McBain on guitar/synth/ echoplex - include the full 23 minute psychedelically enhanced drone ‘Adrift’ that peaks and dips as the title suggests and ‘Smoke Drip’ sounds exactly how you imagine a song called ‘Smoke Drip’ to sound. And that is exactly what Photos of Photos is about: the SOUND, the VIBE, a new age drifting, unchartered, across a sonic expanse.

            For Fans of: Bardo Pond, Monster Magnet- Tab, Hawkwind - Warrior At The Edge of Time, Parson Sound, The Heads, Clark:Hutchinson - A=MH2.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Darryl says: Superb molten drone-psyche that smoulders along in an improv psyche jam style whilst synthy interludes sneak in and out, and humongous riffs slay all before them. Immense!!

            Carlton Melton

            Country Ways

              Brand new album from Carlton Melton, The San Franciscan four-piece Carlton Melton release "Country Ways", a new jam of gargantuan proportions. Featuring former Zen Guerilla members, Andy Duvall (guitar and drums) and Rich Millman (guitar and synthesizers) alongside Brian McDougall (drums) and John Steuernagel (bass), "Country Ways" is their second album conjuring colossal riff laden dronescapes and parched psychedelically enhanced spacerock creating a mind altering magick carpet ride down the Californian highway.... Loud, uncompromising, and yet not a blundering stoned beast, this album has levels of delicate pastoral San Franciscan psych blowing through the almost freeform spaced noise jam.

              Unlike many of their contemporaries, White Hills, Wooden Ships, Cave, Steve Hillage, Bardo Pond, White Noise Sound etc. Carlton Melton are less concerned with the pulse, rhythm, and the groove, as they are with the SOUND, and the VIBE, weaving lush, expansive sprawls of FX drenched psychedelic ambience; drifting more often than driving, huge clouds of swirling wah guitars, and minimal spare drumming, existing more as a pulse, than a beat - the band drift weightless though swirling starlit sonic skies before the descent into trance inducing drones burrowing deep into the earth. Their sound - loose, free, abstract and ephemeral.

              Carlton Melton have made two albums since they formed in 2008, and for several reasons these recordings are unique. For one, they were recorded in what is known as a geodesic dome in rural Mendocino County, north of San Francisco. These domes are typically large spherical buildings shaped like golf balls used as homes for the green-minded, greenhouses, theatres or whatever. Carlton Melton's dome is miles away from anywhere and is hollow. The place makes Bron Yr Aur look state-of-the-art, so unequipped to record music is it. Yet the band love it, and its ruggedness is there in the music. Their first album "Pass It On" released on vinyl in 2009 by Mid To late (the band's own label) was proclaimed by J Mascis as his favourite of the year.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Darryl says: Carlton Melton are the new avant-psyche gods!! Loose free-psyche vibes that float in cosmic abandonment, more abstract than the Shjips et all, but definitely drinking from the same acid drenched soup.


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