The latest from Northern California based Carlton Melton is a 5-track, 37 minute set available on CD and vinyl LP (black or green). Dig that killer cover art. The opening track, Slow Wake, couldn’t be more appropriately titled, as it consists of dreamily floating and totally trippy, dual guitar driven psychedelic atmosphere creation and mood alteration. Keeping On is next and gets into more aggressive space rocking territory, with one guitar cranking out intense strums and leads, the other trippily bubbling along, and a synth melody injecting an added dose of Kosmiche. The music sails along smoothly until after the four minute mark when everything explodes in a slow but monstrously spaced out psychedelic stew. Spiderwebs is another cosmically psychedelic ambient exploration. Sarsen is my favorite track of the set, being a high energy rocker with motorik drumming, searing acid-drone guitar, spaced out licks and alien synth effects, making for a killer jam that’s like a combination of Krautrock and new millennium Chrome. Finally, The Splurge is a stoned and droned exploration that chugs along at a valium-like pace, with creepy atmospherics and space-angst guitars.
Overall, Always Even is relatively short but enjoyable set and I like the combination of heaviness and ambience across the tracks. Along with bands like Vespero, Electric Moon, and Oresund Space Collective, Carlton Melton are among my favorites of the contemporary improvisational space rock bands. Also note that on April 13, 2014, Carlton Melton will be making their second appearance at the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
For more information visit the Carlton Melton web site at: http://www.carltonmeltonmusic.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz