Western Skies Motel is the solo project of Danish guitarist and multi-intrumentalist René Gonzàlez Schelbeck.
There’s a timeworn, arid, and almost badlands quality to the hypnotic, cyclical guitar style. It seems to perfectly capture the lonely, barren landscape of the American West. Yet, there are curious dynamics at play here as Schelbeck is far removed from any upbringing in the roughhewn Americana style of folk guitar. Conceivably, his music has more in common with the lonesome, calculated tone of Berlin’s modern classical scene or the rainy day folk of the UK. Those are intriguing parallels, since the collective mood of Western Skies Motel’s music would adapt so well to either environment.
Schelbeck is a remarkably well-rounded instrumentalist, who spent his early days losing his hearing in local punk rock bands. This youthful love for walls of sound and discordant guitar squalls survives in his modern sound palette. However, a more mature approach to these techniques brings moments of palpable tension, adding in uneasy waves of guitar feedback, droning harmonium and eerie tape loops.
Western Skies Motel’s most recent albums, the highly acclaimed full-length Settlers and the Generations EP were released on the US label Lost Tribe Sound in 2016. Schelbeck has also released albums for Preserved Sound (UK), Twice Removed (AUS), and Audio Gourmet (UK).
Photo: Jesper Bugge Kold