Ross Major
Horatio Hymns [12-inch; Haute Magie]

Haute Magie, mystery label — not because I don’t know who they are, but because I never know what to expect from them — dropped Horatio Hymns on us in a year packed with gimmicks and hyper-programmed, mega-digital constructions less human than a Terminator. Ross Major, along the lines of Mason Lindhal, John Fahey, Six Organs, and Jack Rose, spaces out on his six-string somethin’ fierce in an intensely personal way. Parts of Horatio Hymns also make room for Jarboe/Earth, along with rare but appreciated exploratory voyages into the black hole of noise that many of today’s long-form guitar virtuosos fail to trespass. This phylum of Major’s work is all about Nels Cline and giving heed to outsized soundclouds (yep, it’s a word too). Then there’s also this other side of him that reminds me most of obscure Bay Area act Pregnant, sampled voices atop hazy pickin’. Side B yields the first sign of Ross Major: Singer, and he does a yeoman’s job, bare-backing his voice atop thoughtful, isolated leads. When the pan flute rears its death’s head, you get ready to hide in the bushes, but no need: This is “folk” in the best sense of the word, psychedelic at times even, though neither tag do Horatio Hymns ultimate justice. There are too many other forces at work here, as the almost black-metal “Magus” attests. Best leave the labelin’ up to yo’ brain, young blood! The gods approve.

Links: Haute Magie


Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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