Horseback – Dead Ringers

hbdrJenks Miller brings us the first Horseback release since the really rather good ‘Piedmont Apocrypha.’ Dead Ringers sees a natural evlution in the Horseback sound, which is to say, he’s carrying on down the road that he was going down.

What this means in practical terms is that the rifftastic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup that is Horseback continues to be a rifftatstic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup. He’s kept his vocals exclusively clean this time out, which I think works for the better. There’s also quite the sonic crossover with one of his other projects, Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC, lending proceedings an alt-country air.

Listening to it last night again I was reminded mainly of the wonderful Appliance, who probably fitted few of the descriptors I used previously – it may have been partly the crystal clean production (a feature of all Horseback recordings), partly the drum machines which feature on the early parts of the album. The night before I found myself thinking of Julian Cope, particularly on the tune most likely to have slotted onto his earliest releases, In Another Time, In and Out of Form. Before that it was the HP Lovecraft band from the late ’60s. It is entirely possible that this album will remind me of a different artist every time.

There is a minor imperfection in that the last tune is about 6 minutes too long for my money; he could have kept the post-dubstep experimentation down to a mere 10 minutes and it would have been fine! But this is an otherwise minor quibble, as this is otherwise my favourite Horseback album.

Rob Mazurek – Alternate Moon Cycles

Ha! This’ll sort out the psychonauts from the stylites.

I have discovered this concurrently with Les Sorciers du Theil and the two albums complement each other superbly well, although they do stand alone equally well, too. This is proper meditation music. Total drone. Any of you who are attached to the idea of a second note entering a piece of music may want to move along, nothing to see here.

The man seems to have quite a list of works to his credit although this is my first exposure to him, hence why I specified the album. I feel I’m going to be checking out his catalogue though, and I have a feeling that will be a pleasure.

Crow Tongue

I promised loud, and actually this is… intense.

crowtinguethumbMuch like the album from Valerio Cosi that I bigged up some posts back, Ghost : Eye : Seeker doesn’t seem to be fully listenable online anywhere so you’re going to have to take my word for it, although you can listen to a couple of the tracks here and here.

For those of us who have some experiences amongst altered states of consciousness (although technically watching TV is an alteration of your consciousness, albeit reducing its scope; I mean in the way our culture currently understands the term) this album is a route into a different way of seeing that requires no extra inputs. Playing this album in the background is a waste of electricity; you have to engage and listen to it. It will put you in a trance-like state every time. Well, it does me.

Other people have used words like raga, drone, avant-garde, free noise, improvisation in trying to describe this. Certainly those words make sense once you’ve heard it, but they are not complete descriptors (can any words be? This attempt by Julian Cope, much as I respect him and his music, represents exactly why I don’t want to try too hard to describe music myself… although I am fully on board with the sentiment). All I can say is thank the lord for random fans putting up songs on Youtube so that you can listen to at least some of it, although the second clip I linked has to have pretty much the least relevant image to accompany a song I’ve ever seen.

As for why I’ve categorised this as experimental psychedelia, I personally ‘define’ music as psychedelic due to the effect it may have on my consciousness rather than whatever stylistic conventions it may follow. I shall get more into this on part 3 of my ‘passion or pastiche‘ series.