Intensity Ghost by Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band

Drone conductor Chris Forsyth formed a band off the back of last year's 'Solar Motel', enlisting members of a variety of rock bands (including the ambient-leaning War on Drugs) to help him explore his rock 'n' drone'. 'Intensity Ghost' shows that band in full force, soloing until sore on tracks that are often purely instrumental, tightly-knit but resoundingly emotive. "I Ain't Waiting" sounds like modern post-rock mixed with the psychedelic undertones of Michio Kurihara and shades of Yes. 

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Intensity Ghost by Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band
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9/10 Laurie 22 October 2014

There is a certain triumph embedded in opener "The Ballad of Freer Hollow", perhaps because it hardly changes from a single major chord throughout the whole track. I think the term 'drone conductor' is therefore an appropriate term for Chris Forsyth, a man who had previously been engrossed in solo albums but had the desire to take that sound and expand it to a full live band. The resulting chemistry found them recording a full LP together in the form of Intensity Ghost, with Forsyth pulling the strings. Aww, I feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Slow-burning drone rock jams are the order of the day here, with smatterings of '60s/early '70s psychedelic sounds and the cinematic feel of Wish You Were Here-era Floyd. While there is a giant web of drawn-out guitar music from the past fifteen years, what with the rise of post-rock, this feels refreshingly positive compared to a lot of that stuff -- all without having to resort to watered down Sigur Ros melodies to achieve beauty. There's still distortion present, but each instrument has it's own space where it either takes the solo spot or joins with another to play a crescendo or drone riff. Stylistically it touches on blues on 'Yellow Square' before hitting the more jangly guitars of shoegaze territory on the following track, all with carefully measured structures that brings to mind Talk Talk or Television.

I can't really find much to fault here. The aforementioned chemistry keeps you attentive through the music's sometimes lengthy duration, reinforcing Forsyth's position as conductor. Nice to hear you, to hear you nice.



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