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Horseback's obsessive-compulsive drones

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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 www.therobotoproject.org

Called to order: Horseback
  • Called to order: Horseback

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