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Bill Horist / Marron - Sleephammer
CD (Seattle, WA / Kyoto, Japan)



-hello sleep hammer
-tenku
-kaze no toru michi
-a road never lonely
-shizuka no umi
-happyland
-the civil rights of ghost
-ame mo fureba, yuki mo furu
-general gingersnap
-dokomade ikunokana?




Bill Horist - Guitar
Tanaka Yasuhiko (Marron) - Guitar
Cover Art - Kuu

Reviews:
(Dead Angel No. 8) Bill Horist, eccentric but highly talented six-string deconstructionist, returns with a new album and a new collaborator, Marron (actually Tanaka Yasuhiko, credited with "dubharmonics" guitar). As with all other Horist releases, it's a surreal descent into the world of guitar manipulation, with ten tracks of experimental, processed guitar duets, most of them fairly short, featuring a wide array of bizarre guitar-generated sounds and -- yes -- plenty of conked-out harmonics. With the exception of a few tracks like "A Road Is Never Lonely," featuring crazed, metallic grinding and what sounds like a whole rack of guitars being exploded in rapid succession, most of the album is fairly subdued, in some places almost somnambulistic (hence the title, perhaps?)... but hardly boring, since the sounds and tones the two players generate are intensely harmonic, maybe even melodic at times (although not in any traditional sense). Horist's entire career as a guitarist seems to be rooted in confounding listeners and destroying all preconceptions of what can be done with the guitar, and this album is no exception. Is this a new form of noise-jazz, an attempt at turning art rock inside-out, or just a couple of dudes with perverted ideas about guitar abuse making wild sounds to confuse the masses? Only Horist and his newfound pal know for sure, but one thing is certain -- if you're already down with Horist's past exercises in guitar immolation, then you definitely need to hear this. - RKF

(Aiding & Abetting No. 278) Much more of a traditional Public Eyesore release than the Shinyville reviewed above (which almost sounded mainstream compared to the usual fare), Bill Horist and Tanaka Yasuhiko (aka Marron) trade guitar licks and noises. For all the unconventional noise, however, most of these pieces have a discernible structure and are quite intriguing. Purty durn cool. - Jon Worley

(Neo-zine) This is an animal of a different color. It is a bit noisy. It is a bit ambient. There is some use of drone. It has strange experimental usage of atonal and more-o-less musical pieces blended together. It also sounds like ther is some freeform/ improvised usage of real instruments. I can even pick out an almost far eastern influence in the more plunky pieces. There is a blend of electronic and organic at play here. It is pleasantly unnerving. I feel some difficuly getting a firm grasp on this recording. You really want to call "Sleep Hammer" music, but it travels so far to the edge of what we define as music, that some people are going to call it noize. I'm kind of enthralled by the sounds that I am hearing here, and I am doubly curious about what will come next. The recoring comes at you from way out of left field, but it does so in such a passive and unthreatening way that it is still quite attractive in a weird sort of way. This recording is like a freaky misfit hottie that captivates the immagination, but still might be too far out for most "ham and egg" suiters. I could really get down and funky with what I hear. As a matter of fact, I do believe that I'm slightly aroused. - CHC

(Sea of Tranquility) Bill Horist, noted 6-string "deconstructionist", is back again, this time around with new pal and fellow guitar player Tanaka Yasuhiko, also known as "Marron", on their brand new joint release Sleep Hammer. Fans of David Torn or perhaps Terje Rypdal will find this CD of interest, as the duo take the approach of "let's see how much non-guitar type noises we can come up on our guitars" to a new level. Made up of ten tracks, the majority of Sleep Hammer is fairly trance inducing and doesn't attempt to get your blood pressure racing above normal, but on occasion the duo rip into moments of looping grandeur and molten shards of noise rock that shake things up a bit. More often than not you'll be reminded of Robert Fripp's Frippertronics material or the ambient soundscapes of Richard Pinhas, especially on pieces like "shizuka no umi" and "the civil rights of ghost", where it's one wave of sound after another, more often than not resembling anything other than a guitar. Marron's presence adds that Asian element which helps give many of these songs the ethnic flavor of the Far East, which adds a nice touch to what might have been a very sterile and droning release. Fans of avant-garde guitar soundcapes will probably enjoy this, but if you like more melodic fare you might want to proceed with caution. - Pete Pardo

(Vital Weekly no. 571) Seattle-based guitarist Bill Horist teams up here with Tanaka Yasuhiko, also a guitarist. Yasuhiko Tanaka is from Kyoto and played with people from Ruins, the Boredoms and Altered States. He has his own band called Dubmarronics, and is member of Datetenrya, a psych-rock band that started in the 70s(!). Horist operates solo most of the time, never tired of experimenting on and with the guitar with a great many gadgets, etc. On a day in august 2005 both gentlemen recorded 10 duets that are published now by Public Eyesore. It is immediately evident that the two are very different as guitar players. One choses for the noisy sounds and attacks, while the other has a much more cleaner sound and approach. Most pieces are built upon looped patterns that change from moment to moment on the one hand, and a more free improvising playing on the other. But in several pieces this does not work out and they do not really meet. It is more seeking than finding what we hear. Sometimes they move within the tradition of minimal music, like in 'Shizuka No Umi' that reminds me of early Terry Riley work. It is followed by 'Happyland' that starts with a freaked out hardrock solo improvisation like we know Nick Didkovsky. In other tracks the early works of Fripp and Eno are recalled. With this name dropping I don't want to suggest Horist and Marron are copying old masters. Not at all. But they did their history lessons. Consequently in their bizarre duets full of all kinds of guitar manipulations, they create very different atmospheres. Great, but alas in several pieces their experiments are not integrated into one concept. But for the adventurous listener of guitar music there is a lot to enjoy. - Dolf Mulder

(Paris Transatlantic) Bill Horist plays guitar and Tanaka Yasuhiko (aka Marron) is billed as playing guitar plus "Dubmarronics" (don't ask); the music was recorded live at Seattle's Gallery 1412 in 2005. At first, the digital delay-drenched arpeggios sound almost poetic, but promptly yield to pneumatic drill outbursts and percussive concoctions that mix Industrial gamelan and headache-inducing resonance. Strings get repeatedly raped by a three-head monster with the faces of Henry Kaiser, KK Null and James Plotkin: melodic intensity, destructive weaponry, harmonic dissent and the ever-present power of the Big Hum. I open my windows and the glimmering misshapenness of "Shizuka no Umi" meshes splendidly with the lamentations of my neighbour's donkey in a moment of fabulous surrealism, while the birds start chirping louder (talk about understanding the components of sound.. long way to go, "sentient beings"). The music stands on its own two feet even without animal enhancements though, and brims with keen intelligence and compositional skill. In "Happyland", Hendrix dwarves and straight-up-yer-nose jazzbos can be seen shoulder to shoulder with Reich, Laurel & Hardy, Brecht and Stravinsky, then an overdriven medusa blinds our eyes with caustic Pro-Co Rat liquids and ear-piercing shrilling. "Ame mo Fureba, Yuki mo Furu" could prompt a lawsuit from Robert Fripp for its rape and dismemberment of Frippertonics, while "General Gingersnap" whirrs and whistles through our most depraved feedback desires before turning into fly-in-a-bottle, saturated-and-delayed paranoia. This alternation of edge-of-oblivion ethereal polychords and "wake up and smell the coffee" dissonance is just what my doctor ordered to remove from memory all the useless guitar albums that I've been listening to for decades. Sleep Hammer is highly un-recommended to fans of Stern, Ritenour, Carlton and DiMeola; the rest of you loonies, climb aboard. - Massimo Ricci

(Chain DLK) This live recording is the result of the collaboration between experimental guitarist Bill Horist and japanese guitar deconstructionist Tanaka Yasuhiko aka Marron. I've already heard other materials featuring Horist and in general I find he always have his interesting personal touch both while working in solo and when collaborating with other musicians. Marron 's and Horist's guitar-loops/deconstructions gets along really well together and in most of the tracks and what's more even if probably most of the material is "ready made" and improvised, in many episodes it really sounds like the scrawl?? of a composition and that means they know really well were they're headed. Despite the fact guitar and loop-machines probably are the main sound source in most off the songs, the cd is homogenous but quite varied and well balanced. They range from psychedelic-guitar-layering to abstract electronic no-wave rides or to melodic ambient track that pays an heavy tribute to mighty Robert Fripp. Somewhere else where loops gets more cyclical I've caught myself thinking to some minimalist's composition above all to Reich when he used Metheny in one of his masterpieces, think of it just less controlled and more free style. Horist displays his many influences and what I appreciate most of this performance is the duo don't stop at the first easy solution but pushes forward trying many solution at the coast of going out of focus during the process. By the way I'm glad to say that thanks to God their inspiration resisted enough to paint many interesting episodes and thanks to a really good recording the result is here for your ears to listen. I imagine many of you may think this' just another post-Branca, post-Thurston Moore freaky series of melodies, as I've said the psychedelic, post krautesque element is included with the ticket but Horist is an interesting guitarist and in some way he reminds me of mighty James Plotkin when going sober (who?...Plotkin sober?!?!) and melodic, to this add the fact Tanaka Yasuhiko interventions are really calibrated above all if judged in the economy of the impro-structure. Sometimes you've some really melodic solutions, sometimes you've entropic crescendos and somewhere else you've some relaxed, soft ambient patchworks but what's more in most of the cases the tracks and in general the whole performance has heart. I repeat, the recording is really good and it's easy to forget this' a live performance. - Andrea Ferraris


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