archive review – posted originally on the losing today site c.2000/01
SONGS FROM THE NERVE WHEEL
(UNIT CIRCLE RECORDS)
‘Songs from the Nerve Wheel’ is a dark voyage into guitar manipulation. Sitting comfortably alongside such wonders as Drunken Fish’s Charlambrides and the legendary Henry Cow spin off projects such as Cutler and Frith’s ‘Two gentlemen in Verona’, Horist is in good company. Attempting to do with guitars what Pimmon and Kid 606 do for laptops and ambience respectively, that being redefining attitudes. Horist at times constructs some malevolent textures, you question the fact that this is purely guitar based, the soaring sonic extremes are decidedly edgy and for the most part alienised. The range of sounds he manages to extract along with the pauses and overall feel is very much reminiscent of Cale and Stockhausen. Curiously enough the opening track ‘Inhibitat’ with its disjointed time signatures and claustrophobic middle-eastern references is vaguely similar to the latter projects of the late Muslim Gauze. The oddly titled ‘Claire, the loon’ is a particular favourite, fragmented and disjointed. If George Harrisons guitar can weep then Horists’ can yodel, whistle, scream and if asked nicely could probably relay the meaning of life. ‘One ear to water’ is far more settling than what has gone previously, sounding like an off shoot from Montgomery ‘True’ sessions, your relieved to hear some bog standard strumming given the intensity of the album to this point. ‘Gravity’s backwater’ returns us to that over-born sense of frenzied intensity, a tribal leaden composition that probably owes to PIL’s ‘Metal Box’, a spewing mass of phobic twists, while the sounds of the far east are run through the mincer on ‘Obekoba’ to great effect. Detached as it is, ‘Songs from the nerve wheel’ is not your average party album, unless of course your party venue is the house on the hill in Psycho. Disturbing maybe, meditative surely, and certainly possessing a guitar style that didn’t come from the Bert Weedon play guitar courses. Nevertheless it is an instructive lesson, richly enigmatic and disturbingly curious.