[sic] Magazine

Carlton Melton – Mind Minerals

The perhaps inevitable next step of Carlton Melton’s evolution from riff-lords to increasingly droning drifters, Mind Minerals – another 75+ minute jammer – largely abandons physical form, transcending the confines of song to coalesce with the universe’s cosmic aether and simmering background radiation. Venturing outside of their custom geodesic dome in Arcata, CA to record with Phil Manley in San Francisco and mastered as usual by Monster Magnet’s John McBain (both of whom guest on guitar and synth at various intervals here), the album is the core trio’s sixth full-length and once again it’s a nebulous exploration of instrumental meditation and smothering hypno-missives. There’s far less of a focus on the piercing sounds of industry this time around though, guitar limited too to a few trailing thunderbolts as if we’re witnessing the aftermath of a great storm rather than being caught up in the middle of one.

Charged particles thus crack and fork earthwards on the primal “Electrified Sky” and the album’s wah-heavy closer doesn’t disappoint either. The heady “Sea Legs” is more about harsh floor-drums than it is guitar for most of its run-time however, back-masked effects helping to usher in a period of psychedelic post-rock noodling before righteous soloing and crushing repeats eventually do grow to dominate. In between come hazy, indistinct suspensions full of percussive frills – miasmatic menace and barely-there dither settling like a blizzard of static. Tracks like the oddly-named “A Basketful Of Trumpets” are consequently as laidback as a mind massage, but equally are some of them too chill for their own good. Take “Atmospheric River” for example, its 13 minutes just too intangible and as futile as chasing a half-forgotten dream around your head the following day. Similarly zen but an entirely different kind of horizontal, “Way Back When” is evidently what relaxing beach-idyll music sounds like in the hands of longhair stoners, its ebb and flow quite beautiful but also profoundly damaged, the sand a shade of vermillion, the sky and sea swirling together. Clearly a balance needs to be struck. Carlton Melton were always niche, but disappearing up your own esoterica is rarely advisable.

Best track: “Electrified Sky”

~Mind Minerals is released 2nd Feb 2018 via Agitated.~