Last year the music of Western Skies Motel found its way from Denmark to all corners of the globe. The artist saw his music released on labels based in Poland (Prism, on Preserved Sound) and Australia (Buried and Resurfaced, on Twice Removed) while the raw material of a third album called Settlers made its way to American Southwest leading to its forthcoming multi-format release in April on Lost Tribe Sound.
In the dry desert of Arizona that Lost Tribe Sound calls home, a letter is received from guitarist René Gonzàlez Schelbeck who’s eager to share a collection of intimately composed songs, titled Settlers. Upon listening, we are immediately enthralled. There’s a timeworn, arid, and almost badlands quality to Schelbeck’s hypnotic, cyclical guitar style. It seems to perfectly capture the lonely, barren landscape of the American West… – Ryan Keane (Lost Tribe Sound)
The song that opens the album is as sublime as it is stunning. “Falling Leaves” begins with an eloquent finger-picked melody over a murmur of rushing wind , but the real magic happens after the first minute – a cascade of plucked strings that mimics the dance of the leaves on the breeze as they fall gently to the ground.
Listen here to “Falling Leaves” exclusively for the next 24 hours:
The remainder of the album remains anchored in Schelbeck’s splendid guitar work which is always maintains an articulate, organic flow and a glowing warmth. What makes his music so captivating is not his technical ability, though he seems to possess that in abundance, but the way he uses it to create compelling narratives and immersive soundscapes. He also presents a deceptively complex milieu that bears the imprint of many influences and experiences – Americana, British folk, European modern classical, ambient drone, and even echoes of post-rock and noise simmering beneath the surface. All of this is framed in a weathered, minimalist sensibility that makes Settlers satisfying much in the same way as a Hemingway or Steinbeck novel – not a word, or in this case a note, wasted.
The imagery used for Settlers actually comes from the family archives of Lost Tribe Sound label runner Ryan Keane, which really enhances the package giving it a sense of authenticity and timelessness. The album was, mastered for vinyl by Taylor Deupree (12k) and will be get a meticulously produced 180-gram heavy weight gatefold release limited to 170 hand-numbered copies as well as a Japanese style gatefold edition on CD limited to 300 copies.
NOTE: Purchasers of the first 50 copies of either physical edition will also receive the six song bonus EP, Generations mastered by Kirk Marrison of Kiln (Ghostly Intl.) which is not to be missed as it works as an epilogue to Settlers, seamlessly continuing the same rich musical and visual themes.