Album Review: Dreaming In The Non-Dream
February 28, 2018 · Zachary Roberts
Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band
Courtesy of the Artist
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band are back - and they are better than ever before. Dreaming in the Non-Dream, released on No Quarter Records, is the latest offering from Forsyth and company. Released last year, the album certainly lives up to its label’s name, as it gives absolutely no quarter. The record, featuring Forsyth backed by a newly skimmed down version of the Solar Motel Band, is a complete reversal from the direction indicated by 2016’s The Rarity of Experience. The album was recorded almost entirely live with very few overdubs being added; a large change from the previous album’s expansive overdubs and a larger band. The new iteration of the Solar Motel Band exhibited on Dreaming in the Non-Dream features Peter Kerlin on bass, Shawn Edward on keyboards and saxophone, and Ray Kubian handling percussion.
Dreaming in the Non-Dream opens with “History & Science”, a powerful, upbeat launch to the album. The track features a large amount of improvisation from Forsyth, who at some points in his solos emulates a young Hendrix through his utilization of “musical noise”. The track switches gears midway through, becoming a slow, emotional piece, showcasing several guitar overdubs which manage to be both hectic and stunning at the same time. Eventually, saxophones enter the picture before the song ultimately fades.
Next up is "Have We Mistaken the Bottle for the Whiskey Inside", which contains a rare vocal performance from Forsyth. Although are not the most proficient, all imperfections fit well within the album's loose, improvised feel. The song is a hot blues-y track which is complimented in the last half by deteriorating into a section of chaos full of crash cymbals and effects.
The title track, "Dreaming in the Non-Dream" is a high energy jam clocking in at nearly sixteen minutes. It is an enjoyable jam of riffs between synths and Forsyth's masterful guitar work, and is reminiscent of previous Solar Motel Band work such as "High Castle Rock" (albeit, without synths).
The album closes with "Two Minutes Love", which is an ethereal piece focused on Forsyth's floating guitar work. His playing is accented by an arpeggiated synth and perhaps even a tera-echo, all which lend themselves to the other-worldly quality of the song.
Overall, Dreaming in the Non-Dream is yet another masterful album by Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, demonstrating excellent performance from Forsyth on guitar, tight rhythm from Kerlin and Kubian, and a highly proficient performance by Edward on the keyboards. The whole record demonstrates just how adaptable the Solar Motel Band truly is through their improvisation skills and versatility.
Dreaming in the Non-Dream is available for streaming and purchase on most digital platforms. It can also be purchased on CD, LP, and Cassette through No Quarter Records.