Western Skies Motel
Audio Gourmet Netlabel
Review by Kent Manthie
Western Skies Motel is a project that is helmed by Danish multi-instrumentalist, Rene Schelbeck. In the not-too-distant-past, Schelbeck played in a variety of Danish indie bands, most of which, have faded into obscurity. Then he took a few years off to start a family, get back to domestic life, etc. But now, Rene’s back. Now he’s back, experimenting with new sounds again. The music has just been flowing out, so, suddenly, Western Skies Motel was born.
Reflections is the result of this re-tooling. In his “comeback”, Schelbeck has matured a bit, drifted away from punk, garage and indie-type rock and downshifted to a much more mellow, reflective or introspective album. On this new album, a 3-song EP, Reflections, Western Skies Motel seems like they’re trying out some things, putting out a few “samples” for indie music fans and so forth, to see if Rene’s, indeed, heading in the right direction. The music is “ambient” in nature, but not in a stark, icy, computerized way, rather, it takes on a different kind of “ambient” direction: there is a rustic, quiet, mellow, Southwest US-area soundscape. Just perfect for trawling around the desert or weathering a dust storm from a comfortable cabin out in the low desert. As for me, I would say, “Yes!” – this is a great road to go down. I hope that more of this stuff gets put out – soon! Each piece on this EP is smooth and the acoustic guitar that ripples through makes a great substitute for myriad synthesizers, computers, etc. Sure, some of the guitar parts sound like they’ve gone through some “treatment”: there are points when an echoing part has some ringing to it. I’m speaking specifically of the second tune, “Here and There”, where, besides the beautiful guitar workings, there are some synthesizers behind there. As a whole, though, Reflections is a terrific showcase of an album, one that definitely whets my thirst to hear more. I hope to hear about a new, full-length Western Skies Motel CD coming out soon.
The music on Reflections is definitely more organic, including that acoustic guitar as well as the harmonium too(!), Rene has taken his musical vision that uses more traditional instruments interspersed with some modern tools as well. The atmospheric and interwoven textural sounds are made crystal clear with the smooth guitar, the harmonium, as well as the sonic tools that are woven into the background.