A Horse of a Different Color
A retrospective of sorts that collects different odds and ends from their catalog thus far, Horseback is an Chapel Hill, NC artist who has taken strands of sheet metal and sculpted it into intriguing sound sculptures, all topped by an ever ravaged and raspy voice. This humongous three disc accumulates by at times cherry picking tracks from LPs, such as “Oblivion Eaters” from New Dominions and “Thee Cult of Henry Flynt” from the collaboration with Pyramids, and then just saying the hell with it and tossing on the sought after documents such Golden Impale Live. Needless to say, A Plague of Knowing should give you a pretty good indicator as to what you are in for if you decide to investigate Horseback.
A singular figure, Jenks Miller as the primary visionary behind Horseback, has crafted music that at times is unclassifiable. You hear the crushing noise of the opening three tracks, and you might think a bit of stoner metal. You’ll hear the rasp of black metal pervade the proceedings like a toxic cloud. However as a full package, the music feels very evasive to these sort of classifications, and toes each line with delicate step but a heavy foot.
However, even as the conviction bleeds out of the early tracks on the set such as “High Ashen Slab” and “Heathen Earth,” tracks later on like the slide guitar and sound effect strewn collage “Clattering Info Aggregators,” and the comparatively delicate “Recite” paint the picture of an artist constantly progressing through different modes. This is likely the most you will get out of this collection. As with any document that has as far reaching implications, fans don’t come to look for individual tracks, but for the full breadth.
This being said, not everything here will inspire further investigation. The repetitive pound of “IHVH” seem typical of these sort of rarities collections, while the rather ordinary run through of The Stooges, “TV Eye,” fits the same bill, with only Jenks’ growl a signal that this is not a cover you could hear at your local punk bar on a Saturday night. Every collection of this type has tracks like that, but in some ways it dilutes the water a bit.
All in all, this massive collection should prove quite sufficient for fans or collectors of the band, as it offers a generous heaping of nearly every facet of Horseback’s catalog. And with an aesthetic that is likely to endear himself to those who appreciate his certain brand of genre-evasive and uncompromising artistry, this collection largely is a veritable gold mine of favorites and curiosities that should also satisfy anyone half-way interested.