Comprised of 11 instrumental tracks and 3 tracks with vocals, Chris Forte’s Backyard Astronomy is a blend of world music, jazz, classical, rock, and pop that aims to showcase great music and feed the soul through pleasant tones. With a veritable who’s who of Chicagoland music talent by his side, Forte constructs these 14 tracks in a way that is soothing and enjoyable, even if instrumental music of this variety doesn’t tend to be your bag.
Detractors may call music like this “elevator music” but even if that’s true, it’s elevated elevator music that is so much more than a collection of forgettable tracks you’d hear in a waiting room or a lobby. Can you find yourself tuning it out? Sure. But if you listen and engage, it’ll transport you… and not just up a few floors in your office space.
Take my favorite pair of tracks for instance, the 4th and 5th on the album. The 4th is called “Tranquilo” and takes an approach that blends classical Flamenco stylings with an islandy backdrop. With a simple closing of your eyes, it’s hard not to find yourself sipping a drink poolside in Tossa de Mar or on a beautiful Ibiza beach. It’s a magical tune that is certain to be on my vacation poolside playlists for years to coming, wedged between some Santo and Johnny classic and some Skatalites. A song title has never been so perfect… well… until the next track hits, that is.
And, despite having a distinctly differently feel, the next track operates very similarly in the way it takes me away from my current station to another. With a soulful feel that employs gospel organs, smooth jazz, and some funky guitars behind a bluesy lead riff that you could picture being played by Muddy Waters, “A Lifetime with You” feels like the slow dance of a couple who has been through life together and is celebrating an anniversary… or just another day period… where they know they have each other. Aptly named, the song evokes a loving relationship and the warm embrace of the one you cannot live without.
With 12 more tracks of different flavors and diverse influences, Forte and his band of talented, seasoned musicos have put together the best damn elevator music album you’ll hear for some time. A fantastic blend of all type of music, its clear Forte and his friends are truly teachers and students of music. Check out the album now on Spotify.