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Solar Motel (Expanded)

by Chris Forsyth

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Expanded double vinyl reissue of "Solar Motel." Gatefold jacket. For tracklist, see description below.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Solar Motel (Expanded) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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      $30 USD or more 




Over the last two decades Philadelphia-based guitarist Chris Forsyth has released over a dozen critically lauded albums that have established him as one of today’s most unique and acclaimed guitar player /composers – a forward-thinking classicist synthesizing cinematic expansiveness with a pithy lyricism and rhythmic directness that makes even his 20-minute workouts feel as clear, direct, and memorable as a 4-minute song.

In retrospect, Forsyth’s career can be divided into two periods: Before "Solar Motel" and After "Solar Motel." Originally released in 2013, “Solar Motel” was named after a run-down old lodge in New Jersey, near where Chris grew up. The Motel was a halfway point between his home and City Gardens and 10 minutes from the Princeton Record Exchange, two beacons in the cultural void of the northeast corridor suburbs. Upon its release, the record - his first full-band project - was considered his most ambitious and sublime work of “Cosmic Americana” to date, and the idea of the Motel also figured into a band where vacancies would open and close.

In his words: "'Solar Motel' is the first record on which I overtly took rock tropes and twisted them into new shapes, incorporating so many of my interests and influences - the twin-guitar elegance of Television, the sprawl of West Coast psych, the boiled down Rock Minimalism of Rhys Chatham, the abstract tangles of free improv, an undercurrent of ecstatic jazz energy, and the studio textures of Eno/Cale/Roxy ‘70s art rock. To the few who’d been paying attention to my musical output to that point, I think the whole package came as a surprise. Certainly there was little in my discography to indicate that anything like this was waiting to bust out. 'Solar Motel' basically set the template for much of what I did for the remainder of that decade.

In preparing the reissue, I sat down to listen to it for the first time in several years and was struck by how much of what I did in the wake of 'Solar Motel' was somehow a reaction to or an attempt to tease out various elements of that record. I was also surprised to discover two more songs, 'Long Warm Afternoon' and 'Harmonious Dance,' completed during the 'Solar Motel' sessions that I’d completely forgotten recording, not to mention overdubbing and mixing them. These tracks’ existence reminds me how in flux things were at the time. 'Solar Motel' was conceived very much in the process of its making."

A lot of creative energy was expended in that two-day session between the studio musicians and a lot of creative decisions made in the subsequent post-production sessions when the pieces were stitched together into a whole. Then, just when it was done, a new group took the record’s name and immediately reinvented the music in its own image for the stage. In addition to the two studio outtakes from the original sessions, this reissue includes a side-long live session recorded at WFMU by the then brand-new Solar Motel Band, showcasing the flexibility of the musicians and the material. This kind of dynamic is essentially what Chris is always shooting for - to build on real roots but also keep evolving them, to trust that something new - or at
least different - is always possible, to put faith in the music and the players above all other considerations. Ultimately, the kind of in-flux optimism within that process of transformation embodied by “Solar Motel” is really what the music - what everything - in this ongoing project is all about.


released December 8, 2023


Chris Forsyth - guitars, percussion (A/B/C/D)

Peter Kerlin - bass guitar (A/B/C/D)

Shawn Edward Hansen - Farfisa organ, piano, RMI (A/B/C)

Mike Pride - drums & percussion (A/B/C)

Paul Sukeena - guitar (D)

Steven Urgo - drums (D)

Jeff Zeigler - synthesizer (B)

Produced by Chris Forsyth & Jeff Zeigler

Remastered by James Plotkin


A1 - Solar Motel Part I (11:41)

A2 - Solar Motel Part II (10:05)

B1 - Solar Motel Part III (12:17)

B2 - Solar Motel Part IV (07:26)

C1 - Harmonious Dance (08:43)

C2 - Long Warm Afternoon (06:47)

D1 - Solar Motel Part I – Paranoid Cat - Live on WFMU (20:44)


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Chris Forsyth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“...a scrappy and mystical historian… His music humanizes the element of control in rock classicism (and) turns it into a woolly but disciplined ritual.”
-NY Times

“...a near-perfect balance between 70s rock tradition and present day experimentation,”

“...one of rock’s most lyrical guitar improvisors,”
-NPR Music

Contact: info@thechrisforsyth.com
Booking: al@highroadtouring.com
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