Released 1.1.2021 Her Spirit Cracked the Sky by solarminds, is the 3 song, 42 minute sonic journey largely inspired by the passing of Chris’ mom in 2018. Much of the album was recorded at Chris’ late mother’s house in Ozark, AL, and finished in Berkeley, CA. The album will be pressed to cherry and silver colored vinyl. Read the whole story here.
2016 saw the release of solarminds’ second album, Intimate Portraits and Ambient Gestures. It was a departure from electric guitar dominated sound of the Lighthouse album, in which Chris dove deeper into composing with synth sounds, as well as several super stripped down and intimate performances that feature acoustic guitar and vocal. Its sister album, X-rays and Open Transmissions, was released at the same time, and features several alternate versions and remixes of past and current songs.
2008’s A Lighthouse for the Sun is the band’s official debut album, but it wasn’t born from a void. It was the fruition from years of making demo albums, one off live albums, and other DIY sonic experiments. The album is epic, a massive testament to the power of heavily textured, layered, wall of sound guitars, and richly overlapped synths, drums, and other percussion sounds.
In the Beginning…
Solarminds (though yet un-named) was first conceived of during a conversation between Chris and Victor Ibarra at a party thrown by Dave Loza (drummer for Pisces Shadow). Chris and Victor had known each other in high school, but it was at this particular party that they first really got to talking about what they thought about music, aesthetically and philosophically, and what they envisioned doing with sound in the context of a band. They decided to try jamming together, and when they did it was the most natural thing.
The first jam sessions took place in late 2001 in Chris’ apartment in the North Park area of San Diego. They recorded their jam sessions onto a Tascam Portastudio 4-track records. Within the next couple years, Chris moved into Victor’s apartment in the College area of San Diego, and they turned the living room into an all-out sonic freak fest of wires, mixing boards, effects pedals, and other gear. Chris purchased a 24 channel Mackie analog mixer along with a Tascam CD recorder. The duo’s explicit goal was to try and create as much sound as possible by whatever means, and they did- each on guitar, Chris on vocals and operating the mixer and outboard effects and Loop station, Victor operating enough pedals to literally make your head spin and an Alesis SR-16 drum machine (pre-programmed by Chris), and each sometimes adding additional found sounds on tape decks, old Casio keyboards, etc.
Almost every jam and rehearsal session was recorded and scrutinized later. A massive amount of these direct to CD recordings (that is, all pre and no post, no overdubs etc) were made, and solarminds complete set is representative of the height of the sonic prowess of this early incarnation of solarminds, which sadly did not last, ending later in 2003. The album, solarminds demo album one, was recorded using one ADAT which allowed for 8 tracks, but there are minimal overdubs, and it still feels like that “live direct” sound.
2005 saw a new line-up and the production of a lighthouse for the Sun demos- much of the material from this album was either totally reworked or left behind altogether by the time a Lighthouse for the Sun was recorded and released in 2008.