Tuesday 17th April 2018 at Aces & Eights »
Where to start to describe The Horse Loom? The best acoustic guitar player in the country perhaps? The most unique marriage between British folk music, avant garde guitar playing and punk rock spirit? Certainly. Wonderful? Definitely. Under-rated? Reckon so...
Northumbrian guitarist and singer Steve Malley would doubtless be extremely embarrassed to read any of these things. That says a lot.
Steve played guitar in Crane in the early 90s, whose post-Husker Du take on The Byrds-meets-DC hardcore earned them a deserving reputation as one of the UK's finest live bands. He would go on to play in Kodiak, Four Frame and then most notably The Unit Ama. The Unit Ama existed in direct contrast to their (musical) peers from America.
The Horse Loom sees Steve take this approach and apply it to his love of folk music. Combining folk structures and melodies with his incredible guitar playing has made The Horse Loom something truly unique.
THE HORSE LOOM The Horse Loom is the name given to the music made by Northumbrian singer and guitarist Steve Malley. Between 1989 and the late 2000s, Malley was known as an electric guitarist and the driving force behind a trio of key post-hardcore bands: Crane, Four Frame and The Unit Ama. The range of recordings, performances and Peel Sessions they left behind display a forward-thinking aesthetic that was informed in equal parts by the intense scorch of Husker Du and Fugazi, the expansiveness of Sonny Sharrock and Pharoah Sanders, and the networked DIY activitism of Dischord Records. However, it’s his most recent work as a solo acoustic guitarist and singer that is perhaps the most surprising and the most rewarding. The Horse Loom emerged out of Malley’s retreat from touring and a re-exploration of his relationship with the communities, history and the landscape of his native Northumbria. Channelling the same extended, exploratory, on-the-edge quality of his guitarwork through an acoustic setting, he used this to frame a portfolio of truly extraordinary songs that combine mysticism with a very rooted, earthy reality. Added to that his rich, unaffected voice and you have something unique and special, and which has made The Horse Loom a word-of-mouth phenomenon to compare with fellow Tynesiders Richard Dawson and Nev Clay.
Since recording his debut self-titled (and so far only) album, Malley also founded the 12-piece Dark Northumbrian collective.
The opportunity to see him play outside the North-East is extremely rare: he last toured in 2009. Don’t miss this one.