Horse Lords

Horse Lords

FIRE-TOOLZ, Famous Laughs

Sat, June 10, 2017

9:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL

$10.00

Horse Lords
Horse Lords
West African rhythms collide with just intonation guitars, art-fire saxophone, minimalist grooves, and collaged zapdowns on Interventions, the powerful third full-length from Baltimore’s Horse Lords. The band’s Northern Spy debut is also the first Horse Lords album to explore the classic studio-as-weaponry strategies of yore, mapping the quartet’s raw Baltimore lightning onto the experimental musique concrète territory surveyed by elder heads like Faust and This Heat.

Founded at the turn o’ the ‘teens by Andrew Bernstein (saxophone/percussion), Max Eilbacher (bass/electronics), Owen Gardner (guitar), and Sam Haberman (drums), Horse Lords quickly established themselves as avant-heavies with the two extended tracks of their powerful self-titled debut (Ehse Records, 2012). Playing custom electric guitars and basses refretted by Gardner, the band’s rolling polyrhythms chime with the strange and distinct harmonies of just intonation inspired by the master La Monte Young and other heroes. Where the earliest Horse Lords releases, also including Hidden Cities (NNA Tapes, 2014) concentrated on linear performance, a trio of Mixtape cassettes (self-released, 2012-2014) pointed the way towards the newest turn in the Horse Lords saga.

Chopped and screwed and stomped and smothered and dissolving to bells and then suddenly (as if through a flung-open door) back into some room where Horse Lords is playing at full flight, the three Mixtapes exploded the possibilities of the quartet. Changing contexts like flipping channels on a dadaistic cable box, the series found a whole expanded universe of Horse Lords there for the squonking. Realizing that promise, Interventions is (as they say) a new phase Horse Lords album with Bernstein’s saxophone and the microtonal guitars pinging through the stereo mix with single-minded purpose. Horse Lords is a band, its members serving a range of functions over multiple axes, from the audible (writing and performing music) to the structural (altering their instruments), to the soundscape in between (editing together Interventions’ threaded mini-suites).

Part of the newest wave of smarty-arty-weirdos playing DIY spaces and tea houses and college campuses, Horse Lords’ soaring heaviness achieves a true poise that seems equally primed to make the leap to concert halls and festivals. Making appearances on freeform radio station WFMU and concert recording site NYCTaper, Horse Lords are recognized, too, as a galvanizing live act, powered by the double-drumming of Sam Haberman and Andrew Bernstein. Last year, their Hidden Cities Remix to benefit the local Living Classrooms’ Believe in Music featured the work of influential contemporaries including fellow Baltimore undergroundists Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt of Matmos (contributing separately) and Guardian Alien drummer/lead-brain Greg Fox.

Floating at the boundaries of composition and improvisation, electronics and performance, the underground and the vast improbable 21st century indie mainstream, Horse Lords exist in none of these places and all of them. More accurately, they exist on Interventions, the album you now hold in your proverbial hands, perhaps noticing the reflection of the imaginary room’s light reflecting on the LP cover, ready to cue up as you find yourself in the new beyond of tomorrow’s ecstasies and today’s Horse Lords.
FIRE-TOOLZ
FIRE-TOOLZ
Just as modern experimental music traces a conversation between juxtaposed traditions, live performance tactics, and software-abetted composition frameworks, the music that Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist producer Angel Marcloid makes under her Fire-Toolz moniker burns through ideas and genres at a pace faster than the typical human brain can fathom. Drip Mental, her first release on Hausu Mountain following 2015's Even The Files Won't Touch You (Depravity Label), presents a 48-minute program that smears an untold library of mangled samples and live instrumentation into a hallucinatory vision of progressive songwriting and electro-industrial abandon. Her endlessly combinatory tracks fuse complex percussion workouts, guttural screams, and shimmering synthetic backdrops into bursts of aggressive self-discovery that seek to overload the senses and upset conventions with each hairpin transition. Fire-Toolz's compositions slither between boundaries of internet detritus, finely tailored electronic collage, and unhinged metallic catharsis, planting vocal outpours of emotion and towering earworm riffs within detailed networks of found sound and programmed electronics.
Beneath signifiers that drop listeners' attention spans into rabbit holes of intersecting musical styles (see: cyberpunk, vaporwave, EBM, trance), the heart of Marcloid's practice lies in her reexamination of mundane daily life through the lens of the sardonic prodigy, the grimly enlightened, the a-little-too-emo. The stories that populate her compositions spin through chapters of isolation and PTSD, sex and/or love, weed and internet-induced stupefaction, and workday grind. Fire-Toolz maps out her own conception of modern Chicago life not only by way of her lyrical content, but through a cast of collaborators that appear for moments within the chaos: Gel Set's pulsing techno grids, Forced Into Femininity's unmistakable vocal theatrics, Good Willsmith's fine-grain drone. Tracks like "Busy Beaver Lunch Break" extend over suite-like structures of four-on-the-floor throb, garbled synthesis, and a dizzying array of vocal styles. Peals of harsh noise interrupt the digital hardcore stomp of "To See My Hatred Clearly" before soaring keyboard leads break into a chopped-and-screwed saxophone sample conclusion. The monolithic album closer "?" solidifies Angel's spastic production decisions into a sentimental anthem closer to italo-disco, frosted with black metal screams and elaborate piano solos. Far from seeming random in execution, each tiny element of Fire-Toolz's mosaic proves crucial to express the beautiful and grotesque depths of her personality, and the distances through which her musical self-education has wandered.

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Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
http://www.hideoutchicago.com