Brian Eno’s 1978 album Ambient 1: Music for Airports is Capital “I” Important. It’s a landmark album for what was at the time a fledgling genre, ambient. It’s an album open to contemplation. It settles on the ear and has done so for almost forty years, so it’s understandable that it’s an album apt for reinterpretation by a certain brand of musical weirdo. Chris Schlarb is that weirdo.
In reinterpreting with his band, Psychic Temple, this landmark album evolves from an ambient work to something capable of more. It breathes more deeply, it explores new territory. The ebbs and swells throughout “1/1” truly do feel like breaths.
However, Schlarb and drummer Tabor Allen’s composition, “Music for Bus Stops” is very much a left turn. The cheeky name is wholly appropriate. If airports are full of placid waiting sprinkled with bursts of activity, bus stops have a bit more hustle and bustle cooked into the pauses. Where “Airports” sounds like the Psychic Temple is having a devotional, “Bus Stops” is the revival. It’s the band having an absolute jam, a large ensemble at play, an absolute groove. Of course, this is a familiar pocket for this band but to hear it this extended is a pure treat.
Curious little projects like these are fascinating. It’s a tribute album that’s so much more than a tribute album and it builds on the original concept elegantly. It’s an ambient jazz album– evocative, nuanced, and pure Psychic Temple.
Tabor Allen – drums
Philip Glenn – Hammond organ
Danny T. Levin – trombonium, euphonium, marching baritone, valve trombone
Paul Masvidal – electric guitar
Curt Oren – baritone saxophone
Cathlene Pineda – Wurlitzer electric piano
Sheridan Riley – drums & percussion
Chris Schlarb – electric guitar
Kris Tiner – trumpet
David Tranchina – double bass
Mike Watt – electric bass
Produced and arranged by Chris Schlarb
Mixed by Ronan Chris Murphy at BIG EGO, Long Beach, CA.
Engineered by Jeff Lewis
Assistant Engineered by Steve Krolikowski, Devin O’Brien, and Felipe Navarro Delgadillo
Recorded at All Welcome Records, Inglewood, CA. on Sunday, August 16th, 2015
“Music For Airports 1/1” written by Brian Eno, Rhett Davies, & Robert Wyatt
Published by BMG/Universal (BMI)
“Music For Bus Stops 1/1” written by Tabor Allen & Chris Schlarb
Published by Possibilities At Sea Songs and Music (ASCAP) & Interstellar Music Holdings of the Psychic Temple (ASCAP)
Administered by Little Brother Music Publishing
Photography by Olivia Hemaratanatorn
Layout and Design by David J. Woodruff
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.