Release Date: May 27, 2014
Record label: Asthmatic Kitty
Genre(s): New Age, Avant-Garde, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Guitar/New Age
After big or involved projects, artists often go in the other direction with their following release and pare things down with a quieter, simpler approach. Neil Young, for example, is a classic case in point, having followed that pattern numerous times. Similarly, multi-instrumentalist Chris Schlarb put out Psychic Temple II last year, accompanied by an ensemble of twelve musicians from various genres.
It's people like Chris Schlarb that keep music interesting. The California nomad, under the influence of Bill Laswell, has been known to assemble collectives numbering upwards of 25 to 50 musicians to fulfil his ecstatic free-jazz and experimental pop visions. Contrasting the approach for his latest album, Making the Saint, Schlarb left the psychic temple for the solitude of an allegedly haunted cabin in San Bernardino, with the goal of making a simpler record.
Guitarist and producer Chris Schlarb's collaborated with Wilco’s Nels Cline, Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth, Daedelus, the Philip Glass Ensemble’s Mick Rossi, Sufjan Stevens, and pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley. That list of collaborators speaks to his eclectic sensibility; under his own name and with the groups Create(!) and I Heart Lung, he's blurred avant-garde jazz into electronic ambient, minimal classical and pop-folk. Schlarb’s music has a pensive, numinous feel, emphasizing fine-grained and muted, sparkling textures.
Southern California producer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Chris Schlarb took his always restless muse to places of blissful pop experimentalism with his Psychic Temple series. The first volume, released in 2010, was a sprawling collision of large-ensemble chamber pop and Schlarb's background in free jazz and improvisation. 2013's Psychic Temple II traded in on the long-form pieces of its predecessor for more direct pop productions, going so far as to include re-workings of lesser known songs by the Beach Boys and Frank Zappa.