Horseback, the project of North Carolina's guitarist Jenks Miller, started out with the
droning ambient psychedelic music of
Impale Golden Horn (Burly time, 2007), notably the
shoegazing Finale (17:00), that ends in an almost spiritual shower of guitar distortion, and the
languid and ecstatic Laughing Celestial Architect (15:16), reminiscent of guitar-based British ambient music of the 1990s
Miller straddled the border between several genres with the four pieces of
The Invisible Mountain (Utech, 2009):
the slow and acid Captain Beefheart-ian blues dirge Invokation;
the hypnotic, trippy, jazz-rock shuffle Tyrant Symmetry (with a cinematic guitar solo);
the spiraling gypsy-tinged space-rock The Invisible Mountain;
and the celestial spiritual ecstasy of Hatecloud Dissolving Into Nothing (16:34).
Miller adopted the cannibal growl of black metal on Forbidden Planet (Brave Mysteries, 2010)
and then he mixed it within layers of dense distorted drones in the three parts of High Ashen Breeze,
creating a sort of black-metal approximation of
Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.
A Throne Without A King (2011), a collaboration with the Pyramids (the four-movement A Throne Without A King)
New Dominions (2011), a collaboration with Locrian that includes the 13-minute Our Epitaph.
The vocals are a mixed blessing on
Half Blood (Relapse, 2012), for example in the
growling stoner-rock of Ahriman. The highlights are
the expanding "om" of the instrumental Inheritance (The Changeling)
and especially the distorted and pulsating instrumental Hallucigenia III - The Emerald Tablet, with traces of Calexico's "desert rock", the piece that truly justifies the album.
The Gorgon Tongue collects Impale Golden Horn
and Forbidden Planet.
The triple-disc A Plague of Knowing (2013) collects rarities
The two lengthy instrumental pieces of the five-song
Piedmont Apocrypha (Three Lobed, 2014)
are significant additions to his canon:
the deep psychedelic trance of Piedmont Apocrypha (10:28)
and the dense and stately shoegazing crescendo of
Chanting Out The Low Shadow (17:00).
Dead Ringers (Relapse, 2016) contains experiments in wildly different genres:
the cinematic melodic fantasia Shape Of The One Thing,
the acid-rock jam In Another Time In And Out Of Form
and the 16-minute abstract soundscape Descended From The Crown.
Jenks Miller started Mount Moriah with bassist Casey Toll and
Dolly Parton-esque vocalist
Heather McEntire, the frontwoman and brains of alt-country outfit Bellafea
that had released the EP Family Tree (2004) and the album Cavalcade (2008),
Mount Moriah debuted with the EP The Letting Go (2010), followed by the
album Mount Moriah (2011), a rather boring experience of slow, melancholy, sleepy ballads, although the best one is also the slowest and most
plaintive one, Old Gowns.
Mount Moriah got more serious (and more musical) on
Miracle Temple (2013), with the
breezy and graceful aria of Younger Days, the
catchy and lilting Bright Light,
the tense Swannanoa, and the bluesy
Miracle Temple Holiness.
But half of the album is filler.
How To Dance (Merge, 2016) contains the
passionate Calvander, the honky-tonking Precita,
the rocking Chiron (God In The Brier),
and especially the stately elegy Baby Blue.
Unfortunately the second half of the album is mostly somnolent and disposable.
A four-song EP would have been plenty.
Miller's nine-minute Hats Off to Roy Montgomery appears on
Roads to Ruin (2014), a split album with
James Toth (aka Wooden Wand).
Blues From What (2016), credited to psychedelic outfit Rose Cross NC, but de facto a solo guitar album with a bit of percussion, contains the pow-wow blues Yellowtail (08:09), but
From Nothing to What (10:18) and
Scrying in Water (20:30) are wildly self-indulgent.