This album is the debut from the trio of Rick Parker (trombone, electronics, and synths), Álvaro Domene (7 string guitar and electronics) and Jeremy Carlstedt (drums and electronics), who come together as Sly Horizon. In short, the result is a highly compelling amalgam of free improv, metal, and electronic music that comes across as the homicidal step-child of David Torn’s Cloud About Mercury.
The opening track, literally self-titled as Sly Horizon, builds from slow echoing trombone and guitar atmospherics into a loosely structured improvisation driven by Carlstedt’s aggression. Domene bends mildly distorted notes while Parker uses space to accentuate his statements. She is a Hero consists of extended guitar techniques with feedback and effects over jagged rhythms and synth noodling, with the electronics taking on a leading role. This continues throughout A Moment of Clarity, with Parker and Domene fighting one another across angular, rhythmic themes. Magic Spells and The Anatomy of Light are the closest the group comes to being melodic (in something of a jamming post-rock fashion), with Domene’s generous use of delay, Parker’s brighter tones, and Carlstedt’s periodic restraint. But even that is a stretch as the emphasis remains on distortion, feedback, and an indistinct sense of menace.
Collectively, Sly Horizon has accomplished a remarkable feat with this release. It is an album in which every note, twist of the knob, and beat has something to say. Where raw electronics are tamed just enough to blend into the acoustic instrumentation. And in which each track ends in a place you could not have possibly predicted given its beginning. Bravo, gents.