The Concept Horse – Fills Vols. 1 – 4

9.10.21 by Matty McPherson

There wasn’t a memo attached to the cardboard sleeves, just a foreign pattern I couldn’t untangle and the stamp of one eë editions — a label that took me two months to track down to a Big Cartel page and a Soundcloud stream. I still don’t know the what and why, just that eë editions is a new Bandcampless label in the game, working through experimental distros to get work out internationally. Currently, they’re relocating to Vienna while prepping for their second release in early 2022. Their inaugural release belongs to one DB Friedman, aka the “Concept Horse” who has been spotted around Ithaca, NY playing DIY shows with Sarah Heinnes while still keeping rather quiet. That I filed the 2xCass that comprises Fills Vols. 1-4 as a mere curio, was a bit egregious. I should have been treating it as a legitimate cold case worth pouring over.

Nevertheless, Fills Vols. 1-4 sits at the intersection of record collection admiration and jazz drum looping to create a nervy yet minimal, fast-flowing amnesiac’s kind of library music. It seems that the Concept Horse plundered and warped multiple jazz records aiming to chase down ontological patterns and textures with a kind of elasticity. Listening through the four sides over several months, I was riveted to find myself locked into perfect loops where I couldn’t quite tell what light effects or manipulation was hanging over the entire set of affairs. What you do realize sitting around inside one of these loops long enough, is how the focus from one major beat dips towards those subtle tones or abstractions at the edges of these loops; two paths getting lost in their own directions. As this process slowly works itself through each cut, time after time the Horse Concept deconstructs jazz towards ample scatterbrained poptones, percussive plights, or outright haywire abstractions. Nevertheless, there’s a deep-rooted rhythm and step to the madness. I’m still aghast at the possibility of how easy it might be to slip this on a snooty French restaurant’s reel-to-reel system during a Saturday night rush.

It’ll be hard to pull off such a sleight of hand; all the copies of Fills Vol. 1-4 have been somewhat sold out! Yet, if you scope that hyperlink above, there might be a copy lying around on a Big Cartel internationally. Or you can listen below on the Soundcloud.