Horse Lords announce ‘The Common Task’ LP + share new single ‘Fanfare for Effective Freedom’

Horse Lords press photo
Photo credit: Audrey Gatewood

Horse Lords have announced their new album ‘The Common Task’ and also shared lead single Fanfare for Effective Freedom. An exciting introduction to the new LP, the track chugs along from one surprisingly danceable riff to the next, lingering on one motif only long enough to make its point. “Musically, the piece takes as it’s compositional jumping off point the joining of rhythmic and pitch relationships,” the Baltimore band said, remarking on the song’s main ideas, “the track takes its title from a book by cybernetician Stafford Beer detailing his work on the Chilean project Cybersyn, applying cybernetics to the management of the Chilean socialist government of president Salvador Allende in the early 1970’s. This project was interrupted by the 1973 Chilean coup d’état.”  Listen to Fanfare for Effective Freedom via YouTube below.

Following their 2016 critically acclaimed album ‘Interventions‘, ‘The Common Task’ shows that Horse Lords are testing the edges of experimental rock music and critical social thought further than ever before.

Horse Lords make music for the liberation of mind and body. Propulsive in a way that makes you want to move and that is felt in your gut, the Baltimore quartet’s new album ‘The Common Task’ points to a utopian, modernist ideal. The group uses algorithmic composition techniques, microtonal harmonies, and plentifully deployed polyrhythm that aren’t secondary to the music’s danceability and rhapsodic swirl, but integral to the vibe itself.

’The Common Task’ is both the most cohesive and farthest-reaching record Horse Lords has released. A mystifying density of ideas collide at each moment, recalling as diverse a cohort as The Ex and Glenn Branca to raucous Saharan guitar music, Albert Ayler, and James Tenney. It integrates experiments that gestated in the group’s cassette-only mixtape series, which saw the band stretching out on extended compositions and more expansive sonic parameters as well as presenting more explicitly political material, while retaining the immediacy of their long players. As shown by the album’s title, as well as songs like Fanfare for Effective Freedom and People’s Park, the band’s penchant for radical politics is especially accentuated on this release. Embedded in the exuberant interplay of guitar and sax, the persistent pulse of bass and drums, are notions of egalitarianism and the subversion of established norms. 

Fanfare for Effective Freedom augments its slippery 5/8 groove with keyboard runs that seem pried from a Terry Riley album, an apt reference for musicians interested in ecstatic release and sonic emancipation. Integral Accident, an 18-minute piece that occupies the album’s entire b-side that features the first sung vocals on a Horse Lords album, was originally composed for a program focused on the concept of “revolution.” Even more than 2016’s ‘Interventions,’ now a classic of the underground and praised by the New York Times as “live, shivering with energy,” electronic elements have been fully enmeshed into the band’s template, from synthetic treatment of bagpipes on The Radiant City to the dub and reggaeton-inspired drum edits and synth pulses of People’s Park.

Horse Lords are the Pied Piper of experimental music and radical thought. Their music is unabashedly fun, and experiencing it in a live context is an experience of collective ecstasy, each body moving to its own notion of what the beat may be. That shared experience, the joy of unified flow and motion, allows the ideas typically understood as “difficult” to be more easily absorbed. By using musical forms that point towards new ways of being, thinking, and organizing, by constantly re-evaluating assumptions and compositional systems, Horse Lords provide a model for society at large. By showing just how joyous it can be to imagine new futures and possibilities, by making us dance and howl with each tectonic shift, they show how dazzling the path towards utopia could be.

Horse Lords The Common Task cover artwork

‘The Common Task’ track listing

  1. Fanfare for Effective Freedom
  2. Against Gravity
  3. The Radiant City
  4. People’s Park
  5. Integral Accident

Preorder here:

‘The Common Task’ will be released March 13th, 2020, on CD/LP/Digital and is available for preorder via Northern Spy Records

Tour dates
3/12 Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar
3/13 Philadelphia, PA @ Vox Populi
3/14 Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
3/15 Washington, DC @ Rhizome
3/16 Richmond, VA @ Cary St. Cafe
3/17 Pittsburgh, PA @ Collision
3/18 Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory
3/19 Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Tavern
3/20 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout
3/21 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout
5/2 Brooklyn, NY @ Bang on a Can LONG PLAY Festival
5/8 Odense, DK @ Momentum
5/9 Copenhagen, DK @ Alice
5/14 Lyon, FR @ Le Sonic
5/15 Nancy, FR @ Bon Moment at L’Autre Canal
5/16 Willengen, DE @ Kernmacherei
5/18 Hamburg, DE @ Kampnagel
5/19 Aarhus, DK @ Tape