Hidden Horse – ‘Incorporeal’ (2023)
This is the second album by the duo of João Branco Kyron (keyboards/electronics/sampler) and Tony Watts (acoustic & electronic drums), best known for their membership in neo-psychedelia act Beautify Junkyards.
BJ enthusiasts who haven’t listened to Hidden Horse’s 2022 debut ‘Opala’ are likely to be surprised by the sound and feel of this effort. In place of the autumnal folk and hazy dream pop put forth by their better-known band, in Hidden Horse Kryon and Watts use electronic bleeps and synthesized auras to create industrial soundscapes.
The album is mostly made of instrumentals, but there are a few tracks that include guest vocals. The overall effect of the record is apt to bring listeners to think of Cabaret Voltaire and their ilk, but the atmospheres and feels are also sometimes reminiscent of Krautrock such as Sowiesoso-era Cluster, or the more atmospheric pieces from Brian Eno albums like ‘Another Green World’. Some moments sound like they could be parts of soundtracks to experimental techno thrillers. There’s more ambience than melody here, yet the duo sometimes nicely creates momentary tunefulness that takes a listener’s head off to a dreamy distance. For the most part, though, the clangs and other sound effects are neither comforting nor abrasive. The album’s finest bits are where Hidden Horse merges a steampunk feel with brain-enrapturing, cosmic tones.
Folklore performance artist Arianne Churchman provides some otherworldly, chanting-style vocals to the track ‘The Tape Spool Within the Horse’s Mouth,’ her voice adding a witchy quality to the eerie sounds produced by Kryon and Watts. ‘Símbolos Figurativos De Coisas Vindouras’ is pleasingly trance-inducing (there’s an equally hypnotizing video up on YouTube).“A Mirror That Refuses to Confirm Existence” comes off like it could be Broadcast circa ‘Mother is the Milky Way’. ‘O Antidoto Na Saliva Do Anjo’ is an almost danceable track that makes you wish it would go on much longer past its 1:51 duration.
This is a sleeper album that rewards its listeners with repeated plays; it takes two or three spins before the various tracks’ effects take hold. Take the time to get to know ‘Incorporeal,’ understanding that it’s different from Beautify Junkyards and its own worthwhile entity.
Hidden Horse – ‘Incorporeal’ (Holuzam, 2023)