The greater Boston area is home to more than its fair share of idiosyncratic sound specialists, the bulk of which bring a unique flare to their craft. A few have stood out amongst the talented pack: Jason Lescalleet, who utilizes analog tape loops to create a rather sublime hyper-minimalism; Ricardo Donoso, who recontextualizes Goa and Scandinavian trance templates; and Howard Stelzer, who tends to physically manipulate the working mechanics of cassette decks to get to the heart of his composed noise.
Add Eli Keszler and Steve Pyne of Red Horse to this list. The Red Horse sound is heavy on improv and percussion, and that’s obvious from even the most inattentive passes at this five-parter. The label’s slapped on a “post-everything” mark on the band’s sound, and even though that tag’s been passed around maybe a bit too much lately, these guy’s really do sound as if the apocalypse happened yesterday. Even their set-up harkens to the end of things, Pyne opting to perform with an arsenal of home-made equipment, including some very ambiguous sounding electrified string sculptures. Even more ambiguous are the supposed “reclaimed” speaker constructions that are used (I mean, how do you reclaim a speaker unless it wasn’t first snatched from you in the anarchy of a post-apocalyptic world?).
Despite it being nearly impossible to figure out Pyne’s instrumentation, his speaker static bursts and charged-string crescendos shine through the mix, accounting for a lot of the album’s finer moments. The more nuanced kitchen-sink grind, typified in part by Keszler’s less chaotic percussive style, suits the band entirely. And it’s all the better when your eardrums are left intact afterward.