It's always a pleasure to hear guitarists testing their instruments' limits (and those of their effects pedals). Bill Horist, who plays in many other combos and writes scores for short films and TV programs, has made one of the most enjoyable experimental-improv albums to reach A.P. Headquarters recently (we receive more of these things than you'd think).
In both solo pieces and duets with Troy Swanson (electronics), Eveline Muller-Graf (sharp metal objects) and Rich Hinklin (Moog Synth), Horist sculpts engrossing soundscapes that are fantastic to trip to. Even if you're not on illicit substances, Soylent Radio will disturb your well-ordered world. On the solo version of the title track, Horist forges sonic abstractions similar to the musique concrète of '60s composer Tod Dockstader by weaving snatched voices from a radio into unclassifiable swathes of heavily treated guitar.
This piece sets the tone for the album's disorienting, unsettling sound. The subaquatic squalls of "The Teeth Of Our Skin-Part 1" (with Swanson) could soundtrack the horrors of sea life (and death). In the Dadaist anticomposition "Clowder" (with Muller-Graf), grotesque bestial noises swirl around a concatenation of metallic percussion. Soylent Radio's masterpiece is "Penumbra Hotel" (with Hinklin), in which Horist creates six-string surrealism through striated, staccato riffs and chaotic, tangled notes. Near the conclusion, a demented cauldron of animalistic growls and a dramatic drone a la Ligeti in 2001: A Space Odyssey lend great poignance to the track. With Soylent Radio, Horist enters the pantheon of guitar anti-heroes. - Dave Segal (Alternative Press - March 1998)