- Artist/Title: John Charlton - Walking the Red Road
- Format: CDR
- Label: Carbon Records
- Price: $8
- Catalog ID: CR147
This is John's first full-length on Carbon, with, i'm sure, more to come. former member/cohort of TenTon (now in Chicago), John lives in the Boston area and records all sorts of sounds, guitars, tibeten bowls, cymbals, strings, etc. he was featured on the Carbon 3CD compilation I Don't Think the Dirt Belongs to the Grass and won this praise from Keith Fullerton Whitman: "there’s something on here for everyone... and in fact you might end up, like myself, enjoying just about everything on this set, from the pieces by the names you know/trust to those by otherwise unknowns (for example; i didn’t know john charlton’s name, but his acoustic guitar/tibetan singing bowls/wine glasses piece on here ended up being one of my favorite pieces.)". This full length is a study in guitar, from repetitive/looping acoustic and clean electric with incidental backgrounds, to busy hammering/drumming/droning on an acoustic, to warbly electric mood (ala LMC), to full-on saturated noise/drone. to mirror KFW's comment, something for everyone. [packaged in heavy vinyl sleeve with handmade red and gold paper and spray-painted CD]
Reviews (2):Foxy Digitalis
Chicago area guitarist/sound artist John Charlton 's debut “Walking the Red Road,” is deep study into the very nature of the guitar; incorporating its past, present and potential future within a span of 40 minutes. The tracks range in style from delta blues numbers such as “Stephen Taukus Pharaoh,” and the opener “Flood” to more experimentally bent approaches to the instrument, as is the case with the track “Chelvdra” where he trends a similar path to Area C’s Eric Carlson or when the guitar is employed as a percussive instrument as on “Zhiishii.” The biggest shock is the albums closer, “The Montauk Project,” where your ears are suddenly engulfed in a dense swath of layered feedback and beautiful overtones invoking Michael Morley at his most ferocious.
As Charlton veers through guitar styles on “Walking the Red Road,” he maintains an almost baffling amount of clarity, allowing his voice on the instrument to really ring through, no matter what style he is playing off of. Each track is imbued with an expansive amount of space and layering that resembles nothing more than walking down some desolate dusty road. Though he may at times tread similar territory to some of the Takoma revivalists, Charlton manages to create a very distinct and refreshing approach that sets him far beyond the same old finger-picking that this writer has heard way too much of lately. Hopefully we’ll hear from him again very soon. 9/10 -- Cory Card (22 August, 2007) - Cory Card
[ John Charlton - Walking the Red Road CDR]
Superimposed layers of acoustic guitar reminiscent of those extremely reverberant and static playing styles associated with vast plateaux, progressively lead to complex textures of increasingly processed sound. Departing from the original source and occasionally turning back, only to begin once more, the music is clearly influenced by rhythmical concerns, while subsequent developments include the use of a wider timbre palette and highlighted acoustic features. The use of processing greatly boosts the possibilities, clothing the instrumental with a nightmarish outlook and, at the same time, continuing to cling on to form which is by now almost inviable.