Ross McReynolds and Juan Solorzano are possibly not names you are familiar with but have contributed to recordings you have likely encountered. Both musicians are multi-instrumentalists that lend their input to a number of recordings – McReynolds most recently appeared with Lydia Luce and Jess Nolan while Solorzano plays with Molly Parden and Becca Mancari. Scouring their Instagram’s, there’s countless examples of recordings and performances they’ve been a part of; they get around in the good way.
Powerful players of their ilk often don’t get quite as much time to shine with their own material. Fortunately, these two came together to create a full-length album of original compositions simply entitled Instrumentals. The eleven song undertaking manages to weave its way through a number of different styles, embracing both soothingly ambient tones and more upbeat and engaging compositions. Solorzano had this to say of the creation of the record:
If I was ever to make a “guitar” record, this is probably it. I hadn’t been able to write a “song” song in a while. Between being at loss with the state of the world and struggling with my mental health, I couldn’t find a single fucking thing to say. So instrumentals, it is. I hope that it can be of some solace and healing for someone, just as making this with Ross was for me.
The notion that the record was created as an outlet during the stress of the pandemic and resulted in a calming undertaking is a story we’ve heard before with the Rich Ruth series of ambient EP’s – Where There’s Life – released during the height of quarantine for much the same reasoning. However, this collaborative album results in a much different record from Ruth’s (not that anyone is comparing). These songs honestly do emit a feeling of escape and optimism. “Where Have You Been” lies at the mid-point of the album and serves as the prime example of how these two can craft a song that feels like you’re emerging from a darker place.
It’s unclear if this is a one off record or a sign of future collaborations between the two but that’s immaterial, Instrumentals captures a feeling of a place in time and manages to express itself as a timeless journey of overcoming those hardships. Granted, it’s an instrumental album so you may not glean that feeling from it without the context of why it was made but knowing that the record served as a light through the dark only adds to the level of appreciation we have for it.