Chris Schlarb packed out last year with the release of his ambitious opus Houses of the Holy, under his Psychic Temple moniker, and (a personal favorite around here) the fictional archival release Cosmic Pilgrimage: The Klyfta Tapes 1972 – 1975. Now he’s teamed with drummer Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground Trio, Loren Mazzacane-Connors Ensemble) for a collaborative record released by Astral Spirits. On the sprawling Houses of the Holy, Schlarb paired with several different groups, including The Chicago Underground Duo for side two. The two seem to have formed a bond during those sessions and thus Time No Changes was forged. The record skirts the line between folk and improv jazz, with Schlarb winding out patient lines of guitar that feel more in line with the kind of pastoral guitar landscapes that William Tyler and Bill MacKay have been laying out lately, but the addition of Taylor turns this from folktale into an odyssey of sound.
Taylor acts as an excellent foil, working rhythm in between the ripples of Schlarb’s stringwork, communicating in the same way that Corsano and Orcutt had earlier this year, though on a much less tumultuous plane. The record gnaws at the soul with an urge to escape the confines of the home. It’s a record for outdoor spaces spreading out like endless sky, dodging between the branches, and scrambling over terrain that’s gorgeous in appearance, but treacherous on closer inspection. The pieces play out the same, Schlarb lures the listener in with heartbreak and humility, but it’s impossible not to be consumed by the rhythmic tangle of Taylor each time. The pair prove to be a perfect fit and there’s a spark of hope that this match-up continues as a longview project like the aforementioned Corsano and Orcutt.
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