Photo: Ian Souter
Chris Schlarb is a musician, composer and producer based in Long Beach, California. His newest album, Psychic Temple II, is a celebration of the auteur as cult leader and includes surprising reinventions of work by Frank Zappa, Brian Wilson, Joe Jackson. The album expands his trademark atmospherics into the realm of pop songcraft. Spin Magazine said the album is “beautiful and almost dangerously relaxed,” while National Public Radio said, “In its wordless pastoral journey, Psychic Temple is boundary-less.”
His debut solo album, Twilight & Ghost Stories, was critically hailed as both, “40 minutes of avant-garde bliss” by the New York Observer and as “a monumental achievement” by FFWD Weekly. His following release, Interoceans, with experimental jazz duo I Heart Lung, was chosen by NPR as one of the Top 5 Jazz albums of the year in 2008.
In 2011, he scored an ambitious 50-minute soundtrack to the Nicklas “Nifflas” Nygren video game NightSky. The game was nominated for the Independent Game Festival‘s Seumas McNally Grand Prize and was an honorable mention for the Excellence in Music category. BoingBoing went on to describe the soundtrack to NightSky as “What Game Music Can Be” and IGN rated the music 9.0 out of 10, saying, “This is the sort of thing people mean when talking about ambient gaming.”
As a musician and producer Chris has collaborated with Mike Watt, Sufjan Stevens, Nels Cline (of Wilco), Paul Masvidal (of Cynic and Death) Mick Rossi (of The Philip Glass Ensemble), Dave Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors), Dave Easley (of The Brian Blade Fellowship), Chad VanGaalen, Ikey Owens (of The Mars Volta), electronic musician Daedelus, drummer Chad Taylor (of Chicago Underground Duo and Iron & Wine), hip-hop MCs Busdriver, Radioinactive, and Serengeti, singer/songwriter Diane Cluck, avant-country project Castanets, instrument maker Walter Kitundu, and musician/designer DM Stith. He has also studied with “Wrecking Crew” session musician and Beach Boys bassist Carol Kaye, multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, and guitarist Martin Austin of Ixt Adux.
The recipient of grants from the Canada Council For The Arts and Meet The Composer, Chris Schlarb is a member of both ASCAP and the American Composer’s Forum. He releases music on the Asthmatic Kitty record label and has appeared as a guest speaker and lecturer at California State University Long Beach, NX35 Festival in Denton, Texas and at West L.A. College. In 2001 Chris started the Sounds Are Active label specializing in jazz, experimental, electronic and other progressive musics. In 2006 he produced and released the Sean Carnage film 40 BANDS/80 MINUTES!