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BLACKHORSE, Notting Hill Arts Club

Posted: May 17th, 2005, by Chris S

I am somewhat obsessed and naturally drawn to the idea of ordinary people making extraordinary music. I relate to it. Recently I have seen lots and lots of gigs where extraordinary people make very, very bad music. By ‘extraordinary people’ I mean people who have made an effort to be larger than life. People who dress so well it can’t be anything but a statement and therefore the pressure is on me, the observer, to react to it. This intimidates me and I admit it. It’s because I don’t relate to it. The way I figure, it’s music that binds together the people I am talking about. If you spend longer working out your image than you do thinking about what you’re going to sound like then you’re side stepping the point. It’s possible to do both of course and I love a sharp band or performer but when the balance squeezes out the music I feel short changed. Like going into Asda for some ice cream and coming out with a magazine. It’s not what you went in for, good though it might be.
If this ‘intro’ serves to make Blackhorse sound boring I can assure you they are not. Neither are they particularly earnest which is what this kind of talk usually leads to. Don’t think I’m getting all Noel Gallagher – “it’s about the choons maaaaan”.
Far from it.
It’s all about the riff. Blackhorse pound the riff. They hammer it. It’s tribal at times. Like Lungfish they believe in making their point comprehensively and that if something’s worth playing it’s worth playing for 10 minutes; and like Can they have an ability to push the riff to new parts of the brain so it reverses and changes and harmonises while staying exactly the same.
By manipulating the sounds with a multi tracker, samplers and a laptop, unique clashes are created that are at times dark and at other times wonderfully harmonious. Considering I think the band Primal Scream are a bunch of total chancers, they were almost on to something good on Vanishing Point (especially when Kevin Shields started remixing them) and when a harmonica is introduced and looped in the first song I conclude Blackhorse may share this opinion. The first half is instrumental, the second has female vocals and this difference suggests a band in embryonic stages, which they are, but their ability to morph parts into each other and maintain a level of intensity for 30 minutes means that even though they’re still growing they can present something that never looks under formed or slight.
If these folks had a band uniform and some public-transport-unfriendly hairstyles they would be proclaimed as the revolution. However, the fact they don’t and they don’t care and most importantly they are THIS GOOD is a small revolution all of it’s own.

Chris S

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.


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