Carlton Melton - Mind Minerals - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Carlton Melton - Mind Minerals

by Sean Hewson Rating:9 Release Date:2018-02-02
Carlton Melton - Mind Minerals
Carlton Melton - Mind Minerals

The mighty Carlton Melton return with their first full length album since Out To Sea in 2015. Mind Minerals was recorded in San Francisco with Phil Manley and has contributions from Manley and the inestimable John McBain, both on synth and guitar.

Untimely, the only track to be recorded by Brian McDougall, rides in on a wave of noise that slowly takes form and becomes a two chord riff and is then gone as quickly as it came. The Psychedelic Fuzz is to the fore on Electrified Sky. A slow, droning riff with John McBain helping out on guitar. Rich Millman's synth lightens up the swampy murk. Andy Duvall's simple drum pattern is perfect for the repetitive nature of the track. The Lighthouse is more Ambient as warm waves of fuzz and synth wash over you for a calming four minutes. Three tracks in and this is already feeling like an essential release. Duvall's drums start Eternal Return with an unaccompanied shuffle. The guitar playing is a combination of repetitive drones and Psychedelic soloing. The 10 minute Snow Moon takes its time to develop with Manley's low, squelchy, Juno synth snaking around an Ambient drone. The feeling that you have with Carlton Melton is that they have all the time in the world, nothing is forced into creation but rather evolves in its own time.There are also glimpses of a deconstructed Tangerine Dream here. The intriguingly titled Basket Of Trumpets is next. Needless to say neither basket nor trumpet appears but instead a tentative Psychedelic guitar line weaves around Duvall and Clint Golden's quiet drums and bass. Again, normal time constraints are ignored. Rich Millman's guitar on this reminds me of the way Michael Rother combines Ambient music with Drone and Psychedelia. Duvall's full kit returns on Sea Legs, as does Manley's Juno synth. The song itself is a slow, majestic procession with crashing guitar chords and wah-wah. McBain is back to help out on guitar for Way Back When. It is fascinating to me that some of the songs here (Way Back When being an example) seem half-formed. They often seem like they are just the scene-setting, working-each-other-out section at the start of a jam. In a strange way, I find the realisation that the scene-setting is actually the song, tremendously exciting and freeing. I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps it is the feeling of something different happening, something outside the confines of my expectations.

The influence of the Rother side of Neu returns on Climbing The Ladder. I think that Golden plays just one note throughout which, again, I find terribly liberating. McBain's last appearance is on the 13 minute Atmospheric River. This time he has bought his synth and Mellotron as well as his guitar. There is the sense of the scene being set. Occasionally someone breaks cover and throws a little lead line into the mix. But, for the most part, there is a slowly gathering cloud of sound. Manley's last appearance is on final track Psychoticedelicosis. The sound here is much more growly. Duval keeps a steady beat going whilst Millman and Manley turn their wah-wahs on and set off for the Sun.

Carlton Melton's great strength is to take what would be a limiting line-up (no vocals either) and refuse to be limited by it. Mind Minerals ebbs and flows through Ambient, Drone, Psychedelia, Space Rock and others, to create a fully rounded album. I also like how the songs are often drone based. In the 60s the take off point for this kind of Psychedelic exploration would have been the blues. Carlton Melton want nothing as familiar and predictable as that and have cut one or two chords out of the formula. They also have a great sense of how to round out a sound with the lighter synth often balancing the droning, churning guitar and bass. A fully-rounded, otherworldly trip from a band who have set themselves up outside of conventional form and expectation.

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