Guitarist Chris Forsyth’s hypnotic instrumentals assimilate art-rock textures with vernacular American influences culled from a lauded career as a composer, improviser, and inveterate collaborator. Long active in the international improv/experimental underground, he’s released a series of acclaimed records as a solo artist that demonstrate a resolute engagement in making corporeal/cerebral music that transcends such subterranean realms, reaching instead for a bleeding-edge physicality and lyricism that he deems “cosmic Americana.” The fascinating tension manifest in Forsyth’s playing between often long-form, rarefied abstraction and percolating rhythms and rock/roots structures animates notable recent works such as his 2011 LP Paranoid Cat on Family Vineyard and Early Astral, a 2012 duo LP with Koen Holtkamp (Mountains) on Blackest Rainbow.
His 2012 Kenzo Deluxe LP/CD on Northern Spy, which features “The First Ten Minutes of Cocksucker Blues,” a stunning conceptual soundtrack piece for Robert Frank’s banned Rolling Stones documentary film, has been described as “resonant [and] incisive… a cosmic abstraction of the American guitar tradition, reducing blues, rock, folk and improvisation into their spare, hypnotic base elements.” Aptly, Forsyth credits a Keith Richards interview in a 1988 issue of Guitar World with introducing his teenage self to the banjo-derived open G tuning, which Forsyth now employs almost exclusively. The Wire has praised him as “an erudite and farsighted guitar stylist, mapping a path that’s hip and scholarly in equal measure.” Uncut calls him “an emergent master.”
Forsyth has toured throughout Europe and the U.S., sharing stages with such like-minded travellers as fellow PoB artist Steve Gunn, Bill Orcutt, Rhys Chatham, Sic Alps, Grouper, Loren Connors, Mind Over Mirrors, PG Six, and Träd Gräs och Stenar, and, from 2002 to 2011, as a member of Peeesseye. He studied with guitarist Richard Lloyd of Television and has also collaborated with diverse artists including Meg Baird, Tetuzi Akiyama, Nate Wooley, and choreographers Miguel Gutierrez and RoseAnne Spradlin. Forsyth was awarded a 2011 Pew Fellowship in the Arts and resides in Philadelphia.
In Fall 2013, Paradise of Bachelors is pleased to present Solar Motel, an immersive four-part suite referencing the eponymous (and now vanished) derelict New Jersey lodge, featuring renowned NYC drummer Mike Pride, bass guitarist Peter Kerlin, and organ/keyboard/piano man Shawn Hansen of Kansas City. According to critic Tony Rettman, “sneak listens to his upcoming LP, Solar Motel hint that the best has yet to be heard. Solar Motel is broken up into four parts, each one of them escalating in sequence with head-swelling psychedelic bliss while showcasing Forsyth’s equal admiration for the guitar interplay of both Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd from Television and Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. It serves as a perfect example for what Forsyth calls his music: cosmic Americana.” Forsyth will be touring behind the record with a stellar new Solar Motel Band featuring bassist Kerlin, guitarist Paul Sukeena (Spacin’) and drummer Steven Urgo (ex-The War on Drugs).
- The Guardian Features PoB & Friends.
- Record Store Day with the PoB Gang.
- PoB Ides of March Weekender + SxSW Documentation.
- Fri 2017Taiwan Housing Project, Loren Connors, Chris Forsyth
Rotunda, Philadelphia, PA, US
With the Solar Motel Band: