[sic] Magazine

Carlton Melton – Night Pillers

You never quite know what you’re going to get with a Record Store Day release of original material: indulgent oddity or essential Easter egg hidden in plain sight. Five tracks cut from the same session as 2020’s very decent Where This Leads, the wandering kosmiche of Night Pillers is arguably both. Sure, similar in the main part to content on that album it doesn’t need to exist in the Carlton Melton instrumental canon, but there’ll be enough folk glad it does.

The key, again, is variety and texture, ensuring Night Pillers remains a step up from the intangible Mind Minerals. Deeply meditative, New Age synth-drones come filled out with an ear-swelling hum of static and disorientated guitar tones, sun-dappled licks hand-picking your aura clean in the process. A lollop of relatively harsh floor drums introduce some righteous slo-mo soloing that undulates forth like gravitational waves distorting the Dark Side of The Moon’s laser show back in ’74.

Just as Where This Leads surprised with the inclusion of piano, so does mini-album highlight “High Noon Thirty” with crude drum machine rips and an electronic skitter, killer flatline drone underpinning more liquid lead-guitar zoning borrowed from the likes of Ripley Johnson. Beautiful multi-tacked guitar chimes later blend into pulsing cicadas, zen patterning causing time to stand still until earthbound amp feedback squalls into the void as the sun goes down.

A potted history of psychedelic jamming that leans more on ambient improv than it flirts with strangled space-rock, Night Pillers – a cheeky bit on the side if you will – ultimately makes for quite the companion when the lights go out.

Best track: “High Noon Thirty”

~Night Pillers was released 12th June 2021 via Agitated Records.~