Horseback's obsessive-compulsive drones | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Horseback's obsessive-compulsive drones

Recording an album doesn't seem an activity particularly well suited to the perfectionist, given the myriad problems that can, and will, pop up. Yet it's no secret that many musicians -- many of the best, in fact -- tend toward perfectionism. Jenks Miller is on a plane beyond the mere prima donna, however: Diagnosed long ago with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Miller took three years to record his first album as a solo artist, under the moniker Horseback.

The result is a shimmering gem called Impale Golden Horn, four tracks of layered drone that gains a drum-beat at times and morphs into something resembling dream pop. While the record occasionally steeps in a meditative stasis, some points verge on Sigur Rós-style post-rock, contemplative and majestic at once.

The form and content of Impale Golden Horn are equally informed by Miller's OCD: The inspiration for the record was drawn consciously from his reaction to disorder and his fear of blood. On a different level, the very sounds -- building, repeating, piling layer upon layer of sleepy guitars -- invoke the patterns of an afflicted mind. Perhaps the only unfortunate aspect of Impale Golden Horn is its release at a time when so many others are working in guitar drones; one hopes that it and other affecting and sincere work can still get its due in the ambient-noise world.

Horseback at times enlists the help of others in Miller's hometown Chapel Hill, N.C., scene; on the tour that lands him at the Mr. Roboto Project on Wed., Nov. 14, Miller will be accompanied by bass and winds players, playing something Miller describes as "more surrealist-blues-drone" than Impale Golden Horn.

Horseback, Uptight, Kohoutek, Mike Tamburo. 7 p.m. Wed., Nov. 14. The Mr. Roboto Project, 722 Wood St., Wilkinsburg. $7. All ages. 412-247-9639 or

Horseback's obsessive-compulsive drones
Called to order: Horseback