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28 February 2016

Gordy Horn ‎- 'The Glue That Holds The Kids Together' (What The...?)

Four tracks spanning five years of Gordy Horn, a chaotic Cincinnati ensemble that has a bit of a kitchen-sink 'anything goes' approach to sound and membership, yet anchored by Scott Hisey and Tim Schwallie. These four tracks have a vaguely jazzy/swing feel to them, but the headscratchers is 'Aimee's Dream' (the earliest cut, from 2000) which exists in its own singularity entirely. This has a bizarrely sung female vocal line over a hypnotic string part (a harp!), but it sounds more like the outtake of a video made for some workplace seminar than any sort of identifiable art-rock tradition. It's mesmerising and unsettling, yet somehow still feels logical with the other three tracks. Two of them involve Clayton Gunnells, formerly of Funkadelic circa America Eats Its Young, which makes this an odd crossover with What The...? label head C. Spencer Yeh, who appears on 'Put the Rascal in the Pudding', contributing some of his distinct violin playing circa the era (2003). The horn is in Gordy Horn, not that explicitly in terms of there being actual horns (though there is sax and trumpet) but just feeling like this is from the free jazz lineage. But this reminds me more of parts of Smegma's Glamour Girl 1941 than anything from ESP-disk; it's an outsider aesthetic, for sure, as well as the sense that anything could be possible. One-sided LPs are sometimes frustrating; these four tracks fill out a side nicely, but why not more? Given that Gordy Horn has been active forever, one thinks there could have been more selected, though maybe economical concerns limited this to one-side. Their released discography is pretty sparse besides this and a tape set, on Yeh's other label Dronedisco, suggesting that maybe they were recorded less than one expected. In nearby Louisville there's a band called Sapat that I think is rather similar - a long-running institution, anchored by a few key members, that have had oodles of weirdos and freaks passing in and out of, and rarely recorded (or rather, those recordings rarely massaged into actual releases). Not sure if the Horn is still active these days but I would love to hear more.

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