(New Album Review) Western Skies Motel- Buried and Resurfaced

Another engrossing voyage through the imaginary America, the America of the heart– this time our guide is Danish musician and sound artist Rene Gonzalez Schelbeck, otherwise known as Western Skies Motel, whose November CD-R release Buried and Resurfaced  was unfortunately the last we will see from Perth’s Twice Removed Records, closing up shop after four years of exploratory, organic ambient. Buried and Resurfaced, a collection of  improvisations on electric guitar manipulated via tape machines, is a fine way to bow out. The title Western Skies Motel denotes the vague concept behind Schelbeck’s project: ambient guitar soundscapes inspired by the Big Sky, one of those place seemingly meant to embody its literary analog so much that myth and reality become entangled. If you’ve been reading consistently and keeping tabs on how many times I’ve brought up Daniel Lanois as one of my all-time favorites, you have some idea of how in love I am with stuff in this vein.

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Ringing tones glide from bow or fingertips to string to the dust-choked air through this endless expanse as they slowly disintegrate, murmuring lullabies drowning in the red sky. The romantic abstraction that surfaces most in your mind is that of the America of the outsider, the America we will never truly possess. It’s hard not to be impressed with how mood pieces like “Passages” and “Black Sea” find epic feelings in their brief lifespans, as do the delicate melodies of “The Quiet Rust” and “Thaw”. At under a half-an-hour in length, if this one is not enough to sate you, rest assured that Schelbeck’s follow up to this quick preface, The Settlers, is due off Lost Tribe Sound early next year. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.

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