FAME Review: Carlton Melton - Photos of Photos
Carlton Melton - Photos of Photos

Photos of Photos

Carlton Melton

Agitated Records - AGIT018CD

Available from CD Universe.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

I'm sure, as with the handles of Jethro Tull, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and other ensembles, there's a story behind the band moniker of Carlton Melton 'cause no one in the band carries that sobriquet. What the back story on that might be, I couldn't say, but it'd be interesting to seek out. What I can say, however, is that this spontaneous psych-jam improv quintet comes firmly under the provenance of 'head-trip bong assault 'n general sonic mayhem'. There's a long but underpopulated history to this sort of thing, started in the days of Amon Duul, Can, and others flowing into Radio Massacre International, Quarkspace, and various groups before arriving at today's more generous catalog of participatory gaggles, which vary anywhere from trad Grateful Dead Americana psych to Phish renovations to freak-outfits. Carlton Melton, though, doesn't really edge too closely into any of that bunch very closely, instead smoking hash oil and then hitting the instruments to crunch down just as the flash hits. Thus, not only do you get stoner space metal tangs but also all manner of whizzing paraphernalia which they slowly build into roaring universes incandescing (Nor'easter). That is to say, there's a lotta space flibbertygibbit and farflung fuzz phonography for your flailing cosmic philogeny here.

Photos of Photos is a cross between Delired Chameleon Family and primal Michael Stearns mixed with elements of Eno's ambientalism (esp. a fog-shrouded Discreet Music). It stretches between cuts for a long cool pool of involuted harmony before collapsing into Space Treader's mounting back alley orchestration of Hawkwind. The sky bends down to listen and then lends a hand. Had Loop listened a bit more to the exotica hiding in the 70s kraustische / UK / Italiana prog madhouse, Hampson & Co. just might have taken this direction as well. Treader gets seriously wrapped around itself, thickening and corruscating while tearing free from Earth and heading for galactic center. The band actually manifests in various configurations—trio, quartet, quintet—but it hardly matters because spacey is a spacey does, and these guys just touched down from a local wormhole. Therefore, sit back, spark up, and set the controls for the heart of the cerebral cortex. The world won't look the same when you get back.

Track List:

  • Nor'easter (Duvall / Golden / McBain / Millman)
  • Photos of Photos (Duvall / McBain / McDougall / Millman)
  • Space Treader (Duvall / McBain / Millman)
  • Wingspan (Duvall / Golden / McBain / Millman)
  • Adrift (Duvall / Golden / McBain / Millman / Stuernagel))
  • Smoke Drip (Duvall / McBain / Millman)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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