Carlton Melton / Empty Shapes Split LP
(Mid-To-Late Records 2010, MTL-002, LP)

From Aural Innovations #41 (October 2010)

From Northern, California, Carlton Melton are a quartet that play all improvised instrumental psychedelia and have released some excellent jams since forming in 2008. Their side of this split LP starts with the 14+ minute Call And Response, a stoned, grungy, heavy, pure unfiltered slab of heavy jamming psych rock. The heavily efx'd guitar plays easy paced but screaming leads to a thudding rhythmic pulse and a generally spaced out atmosphere. The guitar has a bit of a Hendrix sound to it, though this is more about freeform freakout jamming. Then around the 8 minute mark things quiet down briefly, and the guys take off again and the energy level has gone from stoned to rocking and the guitar leads considerably more fiery. And its all enveloped in layers of rumbling noise and feedback. Rounding out the Carlton Melton side is the 5 minute Purer. This is very different from Call And Response, being a Shoegazy type tune full of drones and ambience. A cool contrast that nicely rounds out their side of the LP.

Empty Shapes are from Claymont, Delaware. I've never heard of the band before this LP and was fairly bowled over by them. They've got an interesting band description on their Myspace page:

The Empty Shapes are a heavy psych, noise rock, blues band from Claymont DE. They are the self appointed "Official Martin Luther King Jr. Blues Band." They channel both the raw early 20th century blues of the deep American South and the full on drone/noise of New Zealand's South Island & their X-Pressway kin. It is what Empty Shapes like to call a Dead C style Blues.

The fun kicks off with MLK, a 9+ minute powerhouse psychedelic sonic assault. It's loud, noisy, intense, with swirling space guitars, multiple layers of sound, but its all well crafted and controlled. Hell Of A Night is similar but the varied elements are molded into a structured song. I really dig the way these guys craft so many effects into a cohesive sonic stew. And I like the evil efx'd vocals too. Wrapping up the LP is Lord. It's another song, but played at a slower melodic pace. I like the way Empty Shapes create this slow drugged song, but there's all this crazed ripping guitar and efx blasting around it. Wow, these guys are really good and I need to check out what else they've got available.

For more information you can visit the Carlton Melton web site at:
Visit the Empty Shapes web site at:

Reviewed by Spaceman33

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