Thursday, November 10, 2011

High Tech Adventurer

The New Mexico landscape seems to awaken the muse in some while driving others to the greener grass of Portland or the steamy ambiance of Austin. While artists and writers find New Mexico much to their liking, rock & roll musicians can't leave fast enough. Portland's magnetic appeal has drawn an impressive (in number & talent) roster of Albuquerque's musicians. The Rip City is followed by Austin, Seattle and San Francisco  as favored destinations for Burque's ex-patriots.

The first local band that I recall hitting the Oregon Trail was Treadmill (although Eric McFadden had relocated to San Francisco in 1996) others quickly followed. Apricot Jam (Portland) Henry's Dress (San Francisco) The Shins (Portland)  Alex Rose (Seattle) Frankie Medina (Austin) Soular (Portland) Stoic Frame (Long Beach) and The Eyeliners are just a few that come to mind.  Looking back on that mass migration, with a few note worthy exceptions relocating wasn't a ticket to stardom 

Treadmill certainly fell off the face of the earth after they left and what ever happened to the Gingerbread Patriots? Is it better to be a small fish in a pond that's not infested with sharks? Damn right it is!  Staying close to home also has other advantages. If it doesn't work out you can always go eat at Grandma's or move back into your old room.  Some musicians prefer to stay home, using their surroundings and local culture as a source of inspiration.  They're the ones I admire the most.

In the that region of Southern New Mexico that local folks refers to as "The Bootheel" there lives a world class guitar virtuoso. Funny thing is, he might be better known in Germany than in his home state. Bob Forbes records as RedEyeC, besides the volumes of rock/pop/jazz fusion he's recorded, he's also active on the contemporary Christian music scene. Bob Forbes supports a Christian outreach program, which he calls Forbes' Ministry of Music. 

Don't be fooled by his pastoral lifestyle, Bob Forbes can shred as well as any rock guitarist out there. He's recorded over eight albums of guitar instrumentals, mostly accompanied by producer and keyboardist Pascal Gregory. Don't expect guitar showboating or ludicrous speed metal riffing ala Malmsteen. This is more sedate stuff,  a fusion of pop, rock, jazz & metal with occasional vocals. It's not all sleepy-time guitar and synthesizers for RedEyeC. When called upon Bob is an awesome rock guitarist, throwing fiery guitar solos amid the keyboards and vocals. 

Throughout his musical career, Bob Forbes has stayed contemporary by drawing together diverse modern styles such as electronic pop & neo-classical metal guitar. For this reason, I consider his collaborations with Syntopia Music (German musician & composer Sven Ehlers) to be his best work.  Ehlers, a synth artist, with a worldwide fan base, records with a variety of American artists. Forbes has recorded several tracks with Syntopia Music, three of which were also released in video form. All three feature the very distinct sound of Bob's electric guitar as well as his lyrics and vocals.