Horne + Holt
Wires (Self Sabotage)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Sept. 28, 2018
Members of instrumental trio Knest, guitarist Jonathan F. Horne (Young Mothers) and cellist Randall Holt (collaborations including Godspeed You! Black Emperor) holed up in a Montreal studio to produce Wires while percussionist Thor Harris hit the road. Setting up a skeletal improvisation framework, the string masters put pedal to the metal in ways unexpected for jazz and orchestra classicists. Texture and tone matter as much, if not more, than melody, and aggression sits side by side with ambience. "The Lily Marches" takes a pair of simple riffs, one for each instrument, and builds them into layers of roaring wind and heavy rain as the pair loop themselves into a blur. "Mvmt 1 – A Margin" lets the duo duke it out, pitting Horne's slash against Holt's drone. "In Need of Rescue, Strings Attached!" allows the latter to stroke dreamily, while the former feeds back in sinister measure. "Stumbling Past the North Star" begins as a breezeless ocean, but unleashes a typhoon that encapsulates Horne + Holt's ability to be both bruising and beautiful.