Chris Forsyth

Guitarist/songwriter Chris Forsyth got his start in Brooklyn's experimental circles in the early 2000s and slowly grew into a masterful technical player. As the bandleader of Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band, he composed mostly instrumental pieces that channeled both the psychedelic jamming of the Grateful Dead and the precision of art-punk guitar acts like Television. Tireless touring and prolific recorded output made for an ever-evolving sound on both solo albums and Solar Motel standouts like 2014's Intensity Ghost. Forsyth grew up in the New Jersey suburbs, relocating to Brooklyn in the mid-'90s and finding a place in New York's experimental and improvisational scenes. He also played solo, making connections with improv figures like Derek Bailey and Loren Connors, as well as studying guitar under the tutelage of former Television member Richard Lloyd. After he co-founded the alternative folk act Peeesseye in 2002, he started playing with Phantom Limb & Bison and contributing to the work of experimental artists, often doing improvisational cameos in and around Brooklyn. The long list of artists he has collaborated with includes guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama, vocalist Meg Baird, and trumpeter Nate Wooley, among others. After releasing a decade's worth of music on Creative Sources, Utech, Archive, Unframed, Pax Recordings, and his own Evolving Ear, 2011's Paranoid Cat was released on Family Vineyard. The guitarist followed it in 2012 with a duet collaboration with sound artist and composer (and half of Mountains) Koen Holtkamp entitled Early Astral for Blackest Rainbow. In 2013, now living in Philadelphia, he released two albums. The first was Kenzo Deluxe for Northern Spy, where, with minimal overdubs, he created a jam band record minus the band -- it was performed completely solo. Solar Motel followed in October on Paradise of Bachelors. Here the guitarist traced the instrument's development from Jerry Garcia to Tom Verlaine and back again. This time he collaborated with a full band featuring drummer Mike Pride, keyboardist Shawn Edward Hansen, and electric bassist Peter Kerin. The group situation opened more possibilities for him. Now billed as Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band, they released Solar Live 11.15.13 on Electric Ragtime in April of 2014. The guitarist also cut a limited-edition duet offering with trumpeter Wooley entitled Third. Pride left Solar Motel, and Forsyth, Hansen, and Kerin were joined by new drummer Steven Urgo and second guitarist Paul Sukeena for the studio album Intensity Ghost, which was issued on No Quarter in October. A year later Island was released. Another duet offering between the guitarist and Holtkamp, Island was issued by Trouble in Mind. A new lineup of the Solar Motel Band, featuring drummer Ray Kubian and guitarist Nick Millevoi, recorded the double-album The Rarity of Experience, which was issued by No Quarter in March of 2016. Forsyth and the Solar Motels took the long way, touring the U.S. and Europe for the better part of a year, stopping only long enough to allow the live experience to translate into a new recording. Dreaming in the Non-Dream, issued in the late summer of 2017, showcased a more focused sound, one that allowed for trance-like, nearly Motorik rhythms and riffs to creep in and unfold over time in the form of trance-like neo-psych. Even with two tracks over 11-minutes long, the album still sounded concise. It was issued while the band was still on the road. 2019 brought the epic double album All Time Present, released as a solo outing. Clocking in at over an hour, the eight-song album included vocals on some tracks by Forsyth as well as Philly songwriter Rosali Middleman. ~ Jason Lymangrover & Thom Jurek

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