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

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Gentry - Sweet Gossip TV – Sweet Gossip TV is the second full official recording by the duo of Steve Taylor and Gino Mari, heavily influenced by The Cure and the Psychedelic Furs. The band has come a long way since their first...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues