Exposé Online banner

Bill Horist — The Signal Index
(Ultramarine UM017, 2012, MC)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-06-10

The Signal Index Cover artIn the beginning was the guitar. Well, not the very beginning, of course - obviously there was a time before the guitar was invented. But we're not interested in that time right now, we're interested in guitars. In the beginning was the guitar, wood and strings played by fingers and picks. Then there was the electric guitar, which added amplification to the formula. And distortion, which is pretty much inevitable whenever an electric signal passes through wires and circuits. At first that distortion was considered a negative, to be avoided if at all possible. Then someone decided they kind of liked some of the sounds created from the distortion. Then people started inventing things that could change the electrical signal in various ways. We got fuzz boxes, phasers, wah-wahs, and so on, each with its own way of changing the signal. Once guitarists (and others) started getting a fair collection of these devices, they discovered that some combinations got out of control, creating weird feedback and other undesirable noises. But, just as had happened with the first distortion, some decided that those noises in themselves could be used in a musical (roughly defined) context. At that point, the guitar becomes more or less irrelevant, and the initial signal could come from anything capable of generating an electrical signal. Bill Horist is a guitarist who spans this entire range, from naked acoustic guitar to effects-as-instruments, though on this recording he stays mostly to the effects side of the continuum. The Signal Index (yes, that says "MC," for "Music Cassette" up there) consists of two pieces in the 14-17 minute range. Prepared guitar is the only thing used for signal initiation, though it's mostly impossible to tell what was used. And while this method of sound creation can certainly result in abrasive noise, Horist is aiming for a more meditative, almost ambient mood. There are gauzy washes of sound in the background, weird little skritchy echoes, quiet wails, spastic twitchy notes, but no massive blasts of noise. It's oddly calming, and the lack of beat or melody seems unimportant in this setting. Not for every mood, but when it fits, it really works.

Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Bill Horist

More info
http://www.ultramarinerecords.com/site/2012/03/new-tapes-march-2012/

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Die Knodel - Panorama – Well I thought the RIO movement was going trad. on us when L'Ensmeble Raye's last CD hit the shelves, but now they really have gone and done it. Here is something you would expect to hear floating...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues