Having spent four years cutting and pasting fifty trusted musicians on his stunning debut solo recording, Twilight & Ghost Stories (Asthmatic Kitty Records, 2007) guitarist/composer Chris Schlarb may understandably have felt like scaling back. Instead, Schlarb invested similar time and resources to sculpt the beautifully meditative folk-jazz ambient suite Psychic Temple (Sounds Are Active/Asthmatic Kitty Records, 2011) and the outsized pool of backing musicians was on hand again for Psychic Temple II (Asthmatic Kitty Records, 2013) with its Frank Zappa and Joe Jackson covers nestling among more familiar Schlarb soundscapes. Finally, a decade later, Schlarb reins in his orchestral ambitions ...read more
Truck driver, husband, father, and law-abiding citizen by day, Chris Schlarb presumably dons a cape at other moments that transforms him, if not quite into the savior of creative music, at the very least into the creator of other-worldly sounds of singular vision and exceptional beauty. Guitarist, composer, and founder of independent record label Sounds Are Active, Schlarb has been at the forefront of the underground/alternative music scene in Los Angeles for the last 15 years. Through his association with the wonderfully vibrant collective Create(!), via his collaboration with drummer Tom Steck in the uniquely powerful and graceful duo I ...read more
Multi-instrumentalist/composer Chris Schlarb rarely does things by halves. Psychic Temple (Sounds Are Active/Asthmatic Kitty, 2011) was the exotic fruit of over a 1000 hours of studio time and an opus that involved twenty nine of California's most progressive musicians. Wordless choir, strings, horns, acoustic and electric instruments combined with drone and subtle electronics to create an utterly sublime sonic meditation--the final word in folk-jazz ambient music. However, with Schlarb, music is always in a state of transition. So it is that the second installment picks up roughly where the first left off but steers the music in another direction, one ...read more
Chris Schlarb isn't your typical composer, working for a year on this music before writing any melodies. However, given that his previous recording, the beguiling Twilight and Ghost Stories (Asthmatic Kitty Records, 2007), took four years and long periods of soul-searching, little the guitarist and electronics musician of such adventurous outfits as Create (!) and I-Heart-Lung does is that surprising anymore. Except, that is, for the music itself. It would've been difficult to imagine a follow-up recording more beautiful or conceptually refined than Twilight and Ghost Stories, but Psychic Temple achieves just that; for 33 minutes, this sublime meditation sees ...read more
Guitarist and producer Chris Schlarb has been at the heart of creative, underground music in Los Angeles for a number of years. His involvement in bands like I Heart Lung and the fifty-member collective Create(!) has resulted in improvisational music of great imagination, no little dissonance and undeniable beauty, as witnessed on the outstanding albums Between Them a Forest Grew, Trackless and Quiet (SAA, 2007) and A Prospect of Freedom (SAA, 2006)His first solo album, Twilight & Ghost Stories (Asthmatic Kitty, 2007), a four-year project with recorded contributions from fifty artists, is a collage of field recordings, music ...read more
Inspiration comes in many guises. In the case of guitarist/producer Chris Schlarb, a rainstorm triggered a synapse in his brain, unlocking a creative process leading to Twilight and Ghost Stories. That is the simplified version of events. Schlarb's first solo album is, ironically, the fruit of contributions from fifty artists. Each forwarded segments of music or field recordings of varying lengths, which Schlarb shaped painstakingly over a period of four years. The result is a fascinating collage of sounds.
Piano, tuba, vibraphone, guitar, bass and clarinet merge with djembe, claribone, bells, broken mandolin, and radiators and ...read more