October 27, 2013

Playlist Week of 2013-10-26

* Messian: Quartet For The End Of Time (Shaham et al.) (DG CD)
* Stockhausen: Mantra (Mikashoff/Bevan/Orsted) (New Albion CD)
* John Coltrane: One Down, One Up: Live At The Half Note  (Impulse! 2CD)
* Herbie Hancock: V.S.O.P. (Columbia 2LP)
* Eddie Henderson: Realization (Capricorn LP)
* Sam Rivers’ Rivbea All-Star Orchestra: Inspiration (RCA-Victor CD)
* Larry Coryell: Basics (Vanguard LP)
* Joachim KΓΌhn: Springfever (Atlantic LP)
* Bill Connors: Theme To The Guardian (ECM LP)
* Bill Connors: Of Mist And Melting (ECM LP)
* Joe Morris & Augusti Fernandez: Ambrosia (Riti CD)
* Guillermo E. Brown: Soul At The Hands Of The Machine (Thirsty Ear CD)
* DJ Wally: Nothing Stays The Same (Thirsty Ear CD)
* Frank Ocean: Channel Orange (Island/Def Jam CD)†/‡
* Frank Zappa: Wazoo (Zappa Family Trust 2CD)
* Chicago: Chicago VII (Columbia 2LP)
* Dreams: Dreams (Columbia LP)
* Automatic Man: Automatic Man (Island LP)
* Automatic Man: Visitors (Island LP)
* Fleetwood Mac: Mirage (Warner Bros. LP)
* Fleetwood Mac: Tango In The Night (Warner Bros. LP)
* Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left (Island/Back On Black LP)
* Van Der Graaf Generator: The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other (Virgin/4MWB LP)
* Van Der Graaf Generator: H To He Who Am The Only One (Virgin/4MWB LP)
* Van Der Graaf Generator: Pawn Hearts (Virgin/4MWB LP)
* AC/DC: For Those About To Rock (Atlantic LP)
* Thurston Moore & Loren Connors: The Only Way To Go Is Straight Through (Northern Spy LP)
* Circus Devils: When Machines Attack (Happy Jack Rock Records LP)
* Circus Devils: My Mind Has Seen The White Trick (Happy Jack Rock Records LP)
* Giant Robot: Giant Robot (NTT CD)
* Boards Of Canada: Music Has A Right To Children (Warp 2LP)
* Boards Of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp 3LP)
* Boards Of Canada: The Campfire Headphase (Warp 2LP)
* Boards Of Canada: Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp 2LP)
* Astra: The Weirding (Metal Blade CD)
* Pelican: Forever Becoming (Southern Lord 2LP)
* Chris Forsyth: Solar Motel (Paradise of Bachelors MP3)†(‡)
* Wild Nothing: Nocturne (Captured Tracks CD)†/‡
* Beach House: Teen Dream (Sub Pop 2LP)



When I reviewed guitarist Chris Forsyth’s Kenzo Deluxe (Northern Spy), for Spectrum Culture last year, I called him as a “post-modern master of the instrument” and described the album as “four thoughtful, highly personal meditations on the electric guitar’s limitless possibilities.” Utilizing an array of stomp boxes, including digital delays and a looping pedal, Forysth crafted a beautiful set of intimately evocative pieces; but, as much as I enjoyed this quiet and contemplative solo album, I really wanted to hear him with a full band, rocking it out. Now, over a year later, we finally get the opportunity.

On Solar Motel, Forsyth’s new album for Paradise of Bachelors, he is joined by Mike Pride on drums, Peter Kerlin on bass and Shawn Edward Hansen on keyboards, and together they fulfill the latent promise of Kenzo Deluxe. Forsyth calls what he does “Cosmic Americana,” synthesizing jazz, rock, blues and avant-garde styles into a singular, guitar-driven instrumental music that rewards the ear, mind and body. With a muscular rhythm section in tow, including minimalist yet atmospheric keyboards, Forsyth clearly references the dual-guitar line-ups of Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd of Television and Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth while sounding nothing like any of those individuals. Although he studied with Lloyd for a while, Forsyth’s angular, slashing attack sounds more like Robert Quine than anyone else—and the accumulative instrumentation and epic crescendos bring to mind the ecstatic grandeur of Popul Vuh. In the end, however, these references are merely touchstones in a singularly conceived aesthetic.

Divided into four parts (and further subdivided into two side-long pieces which flow seamlessly together), Solar Motel is presented as a suite and painted with broad strokes. Beginning with a looped, one-note figure, "Part I" builds slowly over the course of twelve blissful minutes, slipping in and out of time with uncanny precision. The transmogrified pulse then segues into "Part II," featuring a majestic theme and a spacious, two-chord jam, rich with plummy guitar and synthesizer tones. Side two slows things down and adds a bluesy arpeggiated feel while further increasing the complexity, with interleaving section work punctuated by pregnant pauses. Finally, a spacey loop introduces "Part IV," ending with the loosest and most uncompromisingly psychedelic track on the album. Solar Hotel is a subtly cohesive, 45-minute-long piece and, once it ends, you immediately want to hear it again, in order to better understand how the pieces fit together—and to experience it as one, never-ending loop. That, to me, is the sign of a great record.

Solar Hotel hits the streets on Tuesday, digitally and on limited edition, gatefold LP. Although Paradise of Bachelors kindly sent me an advance MP3, you know I’ll be getting this one on wax—and you should too! Most highly recommended.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Sounds nice! Yet another one for the big list.

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2013-10-28:

*Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music vol. 2: Second a-chronology 1936-2003 (disc 2)
*Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 (Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Hermann Scherchen cond.)
*Stockhausen, Karlhleinz: Gruppen/Klavierstuck IX (Orchestre de Paris & Ensemble Intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez, cond., Paris 1998) CDR
*Miles Davis: Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings Of Miles Davis 1963-1964 (discs 1-5)
*Miles Davis Quintet: 1963-09-20 Monterey (CDR)
*Globe Unity Orchestra: Berlin + Donaueschingen 1966/67 (CDR)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2013-09-30 “Random Parameters” (wav)
*Herbie Nichols: The Complete Blue Note Recordings (disc 2)
*Subtle Body Transmission Orchestra: 2013-10-05 Sonic Circuits Festival, Washington DC (wav)
*Amon Duul II: Yeti
*Animal Collective: Centipede Hz
*Bablicon: In a Different City
*Beatles: Help! (Capitol CD stereo)
*Boston Spaceships: Let It Beard
*Can: Tago Mago
*Dr. Dog: B-Room
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Sam Byrd: 2013-10-11 (wav)
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2013-10-18 (wav)
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2013-10-25 (wav)
*Fireman: Electric Arguments
*Happy the Man: “Better Late…”
*Bob Marley and the Wailers: Soul Rebels
*Massacre: Love Me Tender
*Mastodon: Crack the Skye
*Neutral Milk Hotel: On Avery Island
*Nine Inch Nails: Hesitation Marks
*Rolling Stones: Some Girls
*Ronettes: Be My Baby: The Very Best of the Ronettes

Reading List 2013-10-28:

*Bushmiller, Ernie. Nancy’s Pets (started)
*Bushmiller, Ernie. Bums, Beatniks and Hippies, and Artists and Con Artists (started/finished)
*King, Stephen. Doctor Sleep (started/finished)
*Bushmiller, Ernie. Nancy Eats Food (finished)
*Hyde, Lewis. Common as Air (in progress)
*Perec, Georges. Life: A User’s Manual (in progress)
*Shakespeare, William. The Tempest (Arden ed., 3rd series, ed. Vaughan & Vaughan) (reread/in progress)
*The Wire Primers: A Guide to Modern Music, ed. Rob Young (in progress)
*Weldon, Michael J. Psychotronic Video Guide (in progress)