Western Skies Motel: Western Skies Motel (2013)

Bio (from westernskiesmotel.bandcamp.com):
Join Western Skies Motel on an instrumental sonic journey through labyrinthic roads and barren landscapes on a brooding melancholic album that features elements of ambient, americana, noise and bluenotes. Western Skies Motel is an instrumental project from Denmark. The music is inspired by the dry winds of the American prairie.

René Gonzalez Schelbeck


When René Schelbeck contacted me to review his project “Western Skies Motel,” he started by saying “I know this is taking a chance since you mentioned you don’t like country music.” I had been waiting for the music submission that was going to challenge my assertion on the “Submit Your…” page, where I stated “to be fair musicians, I’m not much of a fan of Country, so unless your country CD is just the best thing ever made, I probably won’t like it!” so it looked like WESTERN SKIES MOTEL might finally be it. He then went on to say “Western Skies Motel contain[s] some elements of country mixed with post rock, ambient, and drone in a cinematic melancholic atmosphere.” So maybe WSM won’t be the album to really test my anti-Country stance, but it sure sounded interesting.

And it is. WSM is very hard to put a genre or a label on, since the music contained within is so eclectic and out there. It’s not really truly varied in its style, but the inputs that go into making the music that live in this dry prairie are just way out there. On Soundcloud, René describes it as “An instrumental project from Denmark… inspired by the dry winds of the American prairie,” and the feelings evoked by that description are pretty spot-on for WSM. Desolate, dark, foreboding, but not ominous to the point of overload; WSM is certainly good at putting pictures in your head but this is not the soundtrack to a torture-porn or anything like that. Truly though, this music needs a movie to go with it, or René needs to find a filmmaker to start collaborating with.

While I can kind of hear where René is coming from with the “Country” like influence on WSM, this is not a country album. I hear more Sonic Youth mixed with Sigur Rós, with some Aphex Twin on the side and a little old-school country in the background. The country comes in with the acoustic (and dobro?) guitars, as well as the slide and what sounds like a pedal steel. What comes out from WSM is much more complex, much more intriguing, much more cerebral than anything I’ve ever heard that is listed as being country. Actually, if Country music sounded like WSM, I wouldn’t have that disclaimer on my site.

Overall, I love this album. It’s a great example of instrumental music that sounds like it’s completely at home being instrumental. Some stuff sounds like it’s the backing tracks for a song that someone has removed the vocals from but WSM exists exactly as it is, and it sounds exactly like it should. It takes the listener on a journey, and that journey could easily be though dust-filled prairies. The emotion, the power, the overall feelings that Schelbeck has worked into his musicianship take the listener on a ride, and that ride is exactly what he intended it to be. The music itself does an amazing job of painting pictures, but I would love to see it as a soundtrack to an experimental, David Lynch like film, and in that setting I think it would be perfect.


Overall 8.5 / 10

WSM for sale: http://westernskiesmotel.bandcamp.com/

WSM site: http://soundcloud.com/westernskiesmotel

Western Skies Motel: Western Skies Motel (2013)
Western Skies Motel: Western Skies Motel (2013)

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