Secret Chiefs 3 - _Book of Horizons_
(Web of Mimicry, 2004)
by: James Slone (8 out of 10)
_Book of Horizons_ is the latest excursion by avant garde pop composer and Bungle savant, Trey Spruance, operating as always under the Secret Chiefs 3 umbrella. It's an infectious little album, brimming with droll fun and left field hooks. The previous releases, with the notable exception of 2001's _Book M_, are mainly novelty items, but this one certainly pushes into more beautiful and substantial territory, with a few pieces of moving beauty. Everything is so perfectly well placed; the death metal's sufficiently violent, the Indo-Iranian surf music spot-on, the jazzy cuts comically dissonant, the filmic Morricone bits evocative, and everything in between lush and inviting. I would compare it to a film score, but no film score since the 1960s contains the breadth, sensitivity, or exotic warmth that this bad boy packs.

Of course, this is a metal site, so one has to ask whether or not this would appeal to the metal set. And I would reply, definitely. So much contemporary metal is over-the-top escapist fare aiming for atmosphere and some degree of player proficiency, and _Book of Horizons_ has all of that, but somehow reduces its excesses and eccentricities to laid back, mostly instrumental music that might sit comfortably next to a Lex Baxter or Sonny Sharrock album. More imminently listenable than commercial pop music, this shit is the commercial pop music of the future. If this doesn't show up in Honda commercials in the dystopian hell of tomorrow, I'll put out my right eye with a car cigarette lighter. Maybe.


(article published 14/1/2005)

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