12 O'Clock Track: Horseback, "On the Eclipse" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Horseback, "On the Eclipse"


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I learned about Horseback—otherwise known as Jenks Miller of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and assorted collaborators—thanks to the arid, pitch-black, mesmerizing LP The Invisible Mountain, released in 2009 on Milwaukee's Utech label. Today's 12 O'Clock Track is the A side of a Horseback seven-inch due in early April on Brutal Panda, and like my favorite songs from Miller and company, it's a hypnotizing high-desert bad trip.

John Crouch, who's a member of the four-piece live Horseback lineup, plays drums on "On the Eclipse." I prefer Horseback songs with drums—as distinct from Miller's ambient and drone-based material—because a clear beat adds a bludgeoning implacability to the cycling patterns of guitars and keys. The obsessively repetitive rhythms make the songs feel like journeys across unimaginable distances, undertaken on foot in the merciless heat of a deranging sun—and Miller's gurgling black-metal growl, buried low in the mix, is like some vicious alien creature you can never quite see, sticking to the shadows as it snakes through the sandstone towers of the nightmare landscape.

A new Horseback full-length, Half Blood, is coming May 8 on Relapse.


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