Friday, December 3, 2010

Chris Schlarb - Psychic Temple

Chris Schlarb
Psychic Temple
(2010, Asthmatic Kitty)
RIYL = I Heart Lung, Mary Halvorson, Dirty Three

Composer/guitarist/collagist Chris Schlarb isn’t one to rush things. It has been a good three years since his gorgeous debut, Twilight & Ghost Stories (one of my favourite records of the past decade), blew my mind. What a gift that album was. The stretch has allowed me ample time to get completely psyched for his follow up, which has now finally been released, and I must say, is stunning. As an artist, I respect Schlarb greatly for his immense creativity and communal approach to making art. Similar to his debut, Psychic Temple is filled to the brim with contributors. Some notable members of this swelling 29 person crew includes the gorgeous vocal talent of Julianna Barwick, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter DM Stith and Weird Weeds percussionist Nick Hennies. Of course, amidst 29 talented musicians, the list could go on and on, but suffice it to say, Schlarb’s been working with the best of the best. And it shows. Psychic Temple is a statement of pure elation. And, under the patient, meticulous guidance of Schlarb, is a singular world where brassy horn conversations, ghostly vocal choirs, fluttering drums and Schlarb’s signature guitar work, all melt into one another in order to produce a body of sound that envelopes the listener. Similar to Twilight & Ghost Stories, Psychic Temple is a collage of sounds, however, this time around, everything seems to fit together much more smoothly, the coarse edges having been sanded away, setting loose a musical flow that enters the ear canals without resistance. The album is hypnotic. Meditative. It’s introspective, allowing, through the psychic gestures of the instruments, the resignation of the body and the heightened activity of the mind. The intent isn’t to lull one into slumber (though I can’t say it couldn’t achieve this with ease), but to provide a space for active reflection on the relevance and influence of beauty. In four fluid movements, Psychic Temple makes a lasting imprint with ease.


Chris Schlarb - "I Can Live Forever If I Slowly Die (excerpt)"

P to the S - due to some generous Kickstarter contributions, Psychic Temple will be pressed to wax as well. Huzzah!

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