Performing in Radiant Matter
Horse Lords is the quartet of Andrew Bernstein, Max Eilbacher, Owen Gardner and Sam Haberman. The band transmutes experimental tactics (polyrhythm, arcane tunings and modular synthesis) into direct, muscular and surprisingly funky songs. The result is an ambitious sound with the volume, energy and density of great rock music but an expansive wanderlust that draws on a wider range of reference points. Using the just intonation tuning system favored by avant garde composers such as La Monte Young and James Tenney, the group’s playing acknowledges the conservatory but just as freely draws upon krautrock, post-punk, Appalachian and African musical traditions. In order to be able to play in this tuning, Gardner hand-modified his guitar, adding and precisely repositioning frets, and the result is a truly distinctive guitar sound, both jarring and joyful. Elaborate but not self-indulgent, wide ranging but tightly executed, Horse Lords are at once trance inducing, ecstatic, and rhythmically compelling.