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People's Picks: Horse Lords

People's Picks: Horse Lords
People's Picks: Horse Lords | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

We might have embarked on this playlist—as others wisely have—with a theme to lend some cohesion to the result, but instead we chose chaos. The dizzying, impossible variety of music and sound that Smithsonian Folkways (and some smaller labels under their caring umbrella) has given the world ought to be experienced as a disjointed, disorienting maelstrom of pleasure, totally resisting any representation of its totality; from custodians of human heritage like Evaristo Muyinda, who helped rescue the classical music of the Bugandan royal court from extinction, to the celestial clangor of Earth's upper atmosphere, we join our boggled minds to yours.

Hopefully listeners will notice the lack of musicians who aren't cis men on the playlist. And while we accept our share of the responsibility, it bears mentioning that this is in large part due to the swath of the (non-profit, royalty-paying) Smithsonian Folkways catalogue that is unavailable on most (vampire capitalist, royalty-stealing) streaming platforms. We might have tokenistically improved the ratio even in light of this, but thought it better to use the opportunity to draw attention to the systemic nature of this exclusion, and not to let our male selves, Moses Asch, or certainly Daniel Ek, off the hook. So we humbly submit to Kathy Fire's judgment, from her classic "Mother Rage": "you're long overdue for your hour of castration.”


Listen on Pandora here

Horse Lords is an experimental rock quartet from Baltimore who draw inspiration from Krautrock, Afrobeat, Appalachian folk, and more, using modular synthesis, algorithmic composition, microtonal harmonies, and other techniques. Their 2022 album, Comradely Objects, is out now on RVNG Intl.