Gorgeous acoustic fingerpicking from Western Skies Motel aka René Gonzàlez Schelbeck. The dense instrumental ballads on Settlers are dedicated to the plains of the American West and capture a sense of vastness and melancholy. Schelbeck also spices his beautiful guitar playing with come thick harmonium drones and satisfying feedback.
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- LTS021LP / Limited second edition LP on Lost Tribe Sound. Edition of 150 copies in tip-on gatefold sleeve
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- Settlers by Western Skies Motel
9/10 Clinton Staff review, 21 April 2016
Oh this is just lovely. Western Skies Motel is Danish guitar maestro René Gonzàlez Schelbeck who has managed to concoct one of those albums which from the very opening notes engulfs you band takes you to a place more peaceful than where you reside.
The opening ‘Falling Leaves’ is delightful with expertly picked nylon strung acoustic guitar making exquisite shapes. The sound is not unlike that on Sun Kil Moon’s (for me) unsurpassable ‘Admiral Fell Promises’ but Schelbeck keeps it instrumental and adds shadowy reverie acoustics and bell-like tones. On ’Two Worlds’ these are joined by semi distorted droney guitars, lovely but I like it even more when he keeps it simple. ‘Migratory Birds’ consists solely of fingerpicks and in each ear comes gorgeous second and third parts including subtle electric guitar, brushed drums and an organ. Excuse me while I burst into tears.
There is the odd dronier track that recalls Benoit Pioulard’s latter day tape manipulations but I hope you forgive me for concentrating on the guitar pieces as they are astonishingly beautiful. Sometimes as on ‘Transformation’ it has the evocative feel of Angelo Badalamenti’s ‘Straight Story’ soundtrack, the sound of slow movement over long distances closing out with manipulated cello droning.
The record is dedicated to the plains of the American West but like all the best music, you can take what you can from it and this brilliant album of wonderful guitar playing will help transport you to a beautiful place of your choice. That's a promise.
10/10 Andrew Customer review, 12th October 2016
I'm reluctant to give anything 10 out of 10 but this really deserves it. It's a stunningly beautiful piece of work that I've yet to get bored with.
At the risk of sounding like the knob who puts the inserts into vinyl me please releases, it would probably go excellently well with a whisky after a shitty day. It's also beautifully presented so it's quite nice to have in your collection if that's your thing.
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