Horseback releases new 7-inch, “On The Eclipse” b/w “Broken Orb”
It’s been a while since we’ve seen any new full-band material from Horseback, though guitarist, noise purveyor, and drone artist Jenks Miller has been quite prolific.Since 2009’s titanic The Invisible Mountain, he has collaborated with Pyramids, Nicholas Szczepanic, and Locrian – not to mention the release of his solo Forbidden Planet cassette. Then there’s his role in Mount Moriah, where his Crazy Horse-educated guitar and gentle vocal harmonies offer a sympathetic friend to Heather McEntire’s heartbroken outpourings. Not only does his work seem to be everywhere, but he’s bloody consistent.
So expectations were naturally high for even 12 minutes of full-band material, considering it’s been two-and-a-half years. And Horseback doesn’t disappoint. The A-side of this limited-run 7-inch, set for release next month by Brutal Panda, explores a remarkable direction. While the established Southern psych-metal aesthetic is already a pretty broad spectrum, ”On the Eclipse” explores a yet-unseen stoner-folk groove that’s as fluid as it is jagged and unsettling. It departs from the slow-burners of The Invisible Mountain, pushing forward with unexpected urgency for this patient band. An acoustic guitar doubles the churning, seasick riff. That instrument’s resonance, added to such dense, menacing textures, makes this side sound fascinatingly huge and inescapable.
It’s balanced by a positive, calming sci-fi drone on the B-side, “Broken Orb.” Gentle drones and bell-like harmonics ring above formless washes of distortion, stuttering drums, and looped guitar swells. Its layers develop for seven majestic minutes, implying Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. It’s hard not to go right back to “On the Eclipse” at the closing fade of “Broken Orb,” making this less a work with distinct endpoints and more like some musical Ouroboros.
And this may represent a crystallization of Miller’s different directions. While “Broken Orb” plays like the optimistic flipside of Forbidden Planet, it also calls to mind the patient, emotionally loaded washes of multiplied overtones in American Gothic. And while the percussive punch the acoustic guitar lends “On the Eclipse” may speak to Miller’s predilection toward Americana forms, squelching radio static and a sustain-choked guitar solo bring discomfiting noise elements even into the more traditional song.
With only 500 copies to be pressed, this one’s likely to sell out – and probably quickly. Stream On the Eclipse below via OMG Vinyl.—Corbie Hill