Black Math Horseman Tease Possible Reunion

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black math horseman 2009

It’s two images from social media. That’s the tease. Let me not draw this post out like some kind of dickhead clickbait with no information to offer. Two pictures. The one above of Black Math Horseman in silhouette from 2009, presumably sometime around when the Los Angeles heavy post-rock experimentalists issued their lone full-length, Wyllt (discussed here and here), through Tee Pee Records. The one below is of dark clouds parting.

Would seem to be a pretty straightforward message there, right? Dark clouds? An indefinite hiatus? Blue sky peeking through? The band coming back? That’s not a crazy A-to-B. I’m not making that up. Seems like a legit read, right? Does that mean it’s happening? Of course not, but it doesn’t mean it’s not happening either, and at very least, it means someone is thinking about the band enough to update their social media with some cryptic messaging one way or the other. Maybe a 10th anniversary reissue of Wyllt? That’s not nothing.

I actually delayed writing this post by a day or two after the images were brought to my attention because I wanted to see if Black Math Horseman actually made an announcement one way or the other. Needless to say that didn’t happen or there would be a more definitive headline above. At the time of their disbanding in 2013, Black Math Horseman was comprised of vocalist/bassist Sera Timms, guitarists Ian Barry and Bryan Tulao and drummer Sasha PopovicTimms has gone on to work in Ides of Gemini and Black Mare, and it’s worth noting that Popovic sat in on drums on tour with Ides of Gemini in 2015, so there’s been some collaboration between the former members even after the band called it a day.

One doesn’t want to indulge baseless speculation, but I can’t help but think that Black Math Horseman are making this out-of-the-blue update even as the lineup for Psycho Las Vegas is due to be unveiled any day now. Timms played there last year with Black Mare and owned the Vinyl Stage thoroughly, so if they were to make a proper return, they could hardly ask for a better place to do it. Here’s what we currently have to go on:

BLACK MATH HORSEMAN parting of clouds

https://www.facebook.com/Black-Math-Horseman-77475471220/
https://blackmathhorseman.bandcamp.com/

Black Math Horseman, Wyllt (2009)

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Black Mare, Death Magick Mother: The Opening of Vaults

Posted in Reviews on October 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

black mare death magick mother

The crystalline voice of Sera Timms is one of the heavy underground’s most affecting assets. Based in California, Timms made a breakthrough with 2009’s Scott Reeder-produced, Tee Pee-released Wyllt (discussed here) in an outfit called Black Math Horseman, and since then she’s contributed to a range of projects, from the collaboration between herself, Gary Arce of Yawning Man and fellow vocalist John Garcia (Kyuss, etc.) that manifested as Zun‘s 2016 Small Stone release, Burial Sunrise (review here), to the three full-lengths to-date she’s issued as frontwoman of heavy post-rock explorationists Ides of Gemini, the latest of which, Women (discussed here), came out this past Spring via Rise Above. In 2013, she made her full-length debut with the solo-project Black Mare on Field of the Host (review here), and she’s gone on to offer a smattering of short releases under the banner since that time, including a 2015 split with Lycia (review here).

Death Magick Mother, on Magic Bullet Records, is the second Black Mare long-player, and though the moniker would seem to recall Timms‘ time in Black Math Horseman, the progressive sensibility she shows throughout the seven-song/36-minute outing is distinctly her own and feels more like a culmination drawing from aspects of all her prior work, from than band through Ides of Gemini‘s heavier thud, spaciousness and crunch, and it is with her voice particularly that she sets the deeply resonant spirit in songs like the bassy “Babylon’s Fold” and the earlier, harmonized “Femme Couverte,” which follows opener “Ingress to Form” and carves out its space on Death Magick Mother with an emergent, distorted chug of guitar over which Timms‘ delivery remains patient, soaring and otherworldly.

Indeed, the ethereal has a central role to play throughout Black Mare‘s forward cast, and that’s a vibe set almost from the first ringing notes of “Ingress to Form,” an inclusion that would seem to be aware of how much it’s acting as an introduction to Death Magick Mother as a whole, though its purposes by no means are limited to that. At 6:46, it is tied with “Babylon’s Fold” for being the longest track (semi-immediate points), and it builds to a graceful and deceptively heavy push, marked by the separation of bass, guitar and drums in the sonic space it has created. This will prove true on the songs that follow as well, but each element at play throughout Death Magick Mother, including the layers of Timms‘ self-harmonies when they arrive, are readily distinguishable from their surroundings. One suspects that if one’s stereo were fancy enough, it would be possible to listen to nothing but the guitar, or to isolate an acapella version of third track “Death by Desire.”

black mare

Might be fun to try, but taken as a whole, it brings a purposeful sense of the disjointed to Death Magick Mother and makes Black Mare feel all the more experimental in construction. Timms, in addition to writing and performing everything on the album (she shares credit for “Babylon’s Fold” with Ides of Gemini bandmates), also recorded, so credit goes to her for this as well as to mixer Andrew Clinco, and ultimately it is one more manner in which she leads the listener through this deeply atmospheric sphere she’s created. It’s neither separate from the desert nor wholly part of it, and it’s more grounded in meter and percussiveness than one generally thinks of the sonically cosmic as being, but it is a modus and a place that is recognizably Timms‘ own, and she is thoroughly at home in its transcendental reaches, even as she continues to expand its borders via complexity of craft and arrangement.

With a decided thump of drums behind, “Babylon’s Fold” sets its tension early and begins a process of release just past two minutes in with a swell of guitar and bass behind the commanding vocals. The volume recedes and the bass maintains a steady presence to act as the ground beneath the echoing strums of guitar, such that its footing is maintained on the next upcycle just before five minutes in that carries what might be the side B opener toward its shimmering last stretch, leading to the penultimate “Kala.” A threat of distortion is issued prior to the first verse and finds its way into the pattern periodically before coming more completely forward after two minutes into the total 3:42 and acting as the key element in an efficient linear build that results in one of Death Magick Mother‘s most consuming moments of wash — a more than fitting setup for the solo vocals that start closer “Inverted Tower” for how plainly the end of the one song and the beginning of the next demonstrate the dynamic approach Timms is able to harness even in this solo context.

The opening of “Inverted Tower” is patient and no less immersive than anything before it, but rather than attempt to summarize the entirety of Death Magick Mother, the final chapter seems to keep on the outbound path of ambience — maybe that is the best summary — and in the jangle of guitar and the foreboding progression that takes hold just past the midpoint, met by complementary layers of higher and lower register singing, there’s a sense of goth theatricality that, at 5:10, explodes to crashing cymbals and layers of howling and screams and moans, somehow black metal but not at all furious. Resolved. It’s a moment there and gone after a few measures and the final surprise is how Death Magick Mother draws itself to a close, which again, is about as appropriate as anything could be in the situation.

Truth be told, by that point, the listener is either going to be well on board for the journey Timms is guiding or not. Naturally the former is the more satisfying option in terms of the basic listening experience, but both on the level of being a personal expression and in its sheer sprawl, Black Mare isn’t by any means a vie for accessibility. Still, to those for whom its wavelengths find sympathy, the depths and overall richness it casts will be yet another example of Timms as an underrated performer and composer, and further proof of how much her work only grows more realized with the passage of time.

Black Mare, Death Magick Mother (2017)

Black Mare website

Black Mare on Thee Facebooks

Death Magick Mother at Magic Bullet Records Bandcamp

Magic Bullet Records website

Magic Bullet Records on Thee Facebooks

Magic Bullet Records on Twitter

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Black Mare to Release Death Magick Mother Sept. 15; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

You can go right ahead and sign me up for Black Mare‘s Death Magick Mother. Sight unseen, I’m on board. A second full-length of otherworldly psychedelic neofolk brooding helmed by Sera Timms? Yeah, sorry. Way I see it, that’s an absolute no-brainer, gotta-hear-it kind of essential release. It’s out Sept. 15 via Magic Bullet Records and follows Timms‘ 2013 debut with the project, Field of the Host (review here), as well as a couple short releases, a 2015 split with Lycia (review here), and so on.

Of course, Timms has had a prolific few years anyway between those one-offs, her contributions to the desert-psych fusion of Zun and the ongoing atmospheric metallurgy of Ides of Gemini, but word of a new Black Mare coming out next month has flat out made my day. The sooner it gets here, the better, and I’ll hope very much to have more posted before it’s out. Preorders are up in the meantime, as the PR wire informs:

black-mare-death-magick-mother

BLACK MARE: Dark Ambient Project Led By Sera Timms To Unveil Death Magick Mother Via Magic Bullet; Album Details Revealed + Tour With Junius Confirmed

Amidst a backdrop of political strife wherein such fundamental principles as the health, safety, and common decency toward women continue to erode more with each executive order and Twitter fit, the spirit of BLACK MARE stands unbridled under the singular vision and limitless purview of its driving force, one Sera Timms.

Death Magick Mother is the second proper full length album from Los Angeles, California’s BLACK MARE. Seven songs in length, this documentation captures Timms amidst a dynamic cohesion and confluence of inspiration unlike any prior. Whereas previous output operated under a founding principle of rhythmic repetition and atmospheric simplicity toward trace-like escapism, Death Magick Mother is Timms stepping right in front of the lens for a closeup. Mixed by Andrew Clinco of Drab Majesty and mastered by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound Mastering, bolder arrangements lend themselves toward soaring, dynamic vocal melodies and nuanced harmonization to highly-satisfying effect. Spot-on performances and command of all instrumentation across the spectrum further propels the sense of arrival in mastery over her chosen craft. In many ways, this album is an awakening for both its creator and listeners alike.

Death Magick Mother will see release digitally via Magic Bullet on September 15th with LPs to follow. Preorders are currently available at THIS LOCATION.

Death Magick Mother Track Listing:
1. Ingress to Form
2. Femme Couverte
3. Death By Desire
4. Coral Vaults
5. Babylon’s Fold
6. Kala
7. Inverted Tower

Live appearances are robust in conjunction with the album’s release and range from a women’s mass replete with a bloodletting ritual, a midnight ceremony in celebration of a total eclipse with France’s Celeste, and even a traditional tour of the western United States in direct support of Junius.

BLACK MARE:
8/13/2017 Women’s Mass: A Benefit for The Satanic Temple @ Union – Los Angeles, CA w/ Night Club
8/21/2017 The Federal Underground – Long Beach, CA w/ Celeste, Destroy Judas, Hexa
w/ Junius, Mustard Gas & Roses:
9/21/2017 Yucca Tap Room – Phoenix, AZ
9/22/2017 The Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA w/ Hours
9/23/2017 The Golden Bull – Oakland, CA w/ Daxma
9/24/2017 Cafe Colonial – Sacramento, CA
9/25/2017 Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR w/ Wovoka, Drainage
9/26/2017 Highline Bar – Seattle, WA w/ They Rise We Die
9/27/2017 The Shredder – Boise, ID
9/28/2017 Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
9/29/2017 Hi-Dive Denver – Denver, CO w/ Ghosts Of Glaciers
10/01/2017 The Sidewinder – Austin, TX

BLACK MARE is the solo project of Sera Timms, vocalist and bassist for Ides Of Gemini and of the now-disbanded Black Math Horseman. With a focus on rhythmic repetition and atmospheric simplicity, BLACK MARE steps outside the collaborative dynamic to reveal a creative process that is all Sera’s own. Her songs traverse hidden realms, fragments of dreams, submerged memories, and mythical imagery. Where Black Math Horseman and Ides Of Gemini demand volume and collusion, BLACK MARE requires quiet contemplation. If Black Math Horseman and Ides Of Gemini seek to summon the deafening roar of inevitability, BLACK MARE delivers its verdicts on cresting waves and solemn whispers. And yet each operates, in its own way, within the darkened spheres of oceanic hypnosis.

https://magicbulletrecords.bandcamp.com/album/black-mare-death-magick-mother
http://www.theblackmare.com
http://www.facebook.com/Black-Mare
http://www.magicbulletrecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/magicbulletrecords
http://www.twitter.com/magicbulletrecs

Black Mare, Field of the Host (2013)

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Friday Full-Length: Black Math Horseman, Wyllt

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Black Math Horseman, Wyllt (2009)

In the eight years since its release, something of a cult loyalism has built up around the full-length debut from Los Angeles’ Black Math Horseman. Rightly so. Issued in April 2009 by Tee Pee Records, the 38-minute Wyllt (discussed here) is a rare kind of outing that seemed to at once demand full headphone immersion and a volume level in defiance of any and all medical recommendation. Resting ultimately between ambient, My Bloody Valentine via Isis post-metal and desert-psychedelic ritualizing, it was a work of such purpose and detail that if you center its six titles, they form a pyramid. To wit:

Tyrant
Deerslayer
A Barren Cause
Origin of Savagery
Torment of the Metals
Bird of all Faiths/Bell from Madrone

Note “Tyrant” at the top. This nuance of presentation — could be happenstance, but seems unlikely that it was, frankly — came alongside a sound that was at once in-genre and out of it, unremittingly the band’s own on a level generally unthinkable for a debut and distinguished at the outset by the vocals of bassist Sera Timms, who seems to arrive here with her echoing ethereality completely realized and ready to carry the melodies of “Tyrant,” the build of “A Barren Cause,” and the later spaciousness of “Torment of the Metals.” Perhaps even more than it was heavy — though it was, make no mistake — Wyllt was ahead of its time in the vastness of its soundscapes. This facet of the band’s songwriting, along with a production job by Scott Reeder (The ObsessedKyuss, etc.), gave Timms, guitarists Ian Barry and Bryan Tulao and drummer Sasha Popovic room to conjure tension-building minimalism into a churn that even these years later remains overwhelming in moments like when the seething comes to the fore “Bird of all Faiths/Bell from Madrone” propelled by Popovic‘s drums before once again receding behind sparse guitar and vague, ambient vocalizations, or when the chugging payoff of “Deerslayer” takes hold with its overarching nod and sway from the prior Red Sparowes-style exploration.

Wyllt is also a record that has benefited greatly from the context of the years since. When first released, it was a definite outlier for Tee Pee Records — also planet earth — and while it would be Black Math Horseman‘s only full-length before they disbanded, the work Timms has gone on to do in Ides of Gemini, her Black Mare solo-outfit and in guest spots for the likes of Mustard, Gas & RosesTombs and Zun — the desert ambient project of Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce on which Timms split lead-singer duties with John Garcia — have given a different light to just how much of an accomplishment these songs were in setting all of that in motion on an aesthetic level. True, neither Ides of Gemini nor Black Mare nor Zun are looking to cover the same ground as was Black Math Horseman — they’re individual bands with their own players and styles — but Timms‘ vocals are a defining element for all as they were on Wyllt, and understanding that is naturally something that has become easier as her discography has grown. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any development or progression on her part, as Zun‘s 2016 outing, Burial Sunrise (review here), and her work on Ides of Gemini‘s forthcoming Women LP immediately demonstrate otherwise, just that on a basic level of methodology, Wyllt can be seen as a direct precursor to what she’s done since.

And of course, the record’s not just about the singer. To hear the guitars of Barry and Tulao weaving around each other in the midsection of “Origin of Savagery” backed by Popovic‘s creative timekeeping and the out and out crushing riff that emerges to cap “Torment of the Metals,” one can’t help but wonder just what it was that went wrong in this band when they seemed to be so cohesive and aligned in their sonic intentions. As noted, Wyllt was the only thing Black Math Horseman released in their time together. It wouldn’t be long before the first Ides of Gemini EP surfaced, but as much as it was a standout at the time, and ahead of its time, Wyllt remains distinct in the resonant, affecting impression it leaves, in its fluid definition of heft, in its open sensibilities and in the unfulfilled potential it continues to represent for the band. Oh, what might have been.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I have spent much of the last three days quietly begging for this week to end. This morning I was up at 3AM in anticipation of precisely that happening. I probably could’ve gone back to sleep, but screw it. Coffee to be had, records to write about, etc. Hell, I’ve even got the World Baseball Classic streaming on my phone on mute on the table nearby my laptop as I sit on the couch and type this before work. China vs. Japan. Seems like a game that could have significant diplomatic repercussions for the Pacific Rim. Better to watch history unfold.

As of this sentence, Japan’s up 1-0, if you’re wondering. It’s early yet.

In a couple minutes, I’ll get up and pour myself my next coffee and enjoy that, and then in about an hour I’ll drive through the falling snow to get to work. We’re supposed to get a few inches here in Southern Massachusetts. More Tuesday, they’re saying. I don’t care. I just want to get to the office so I can start the day as a necessary step toward ending it, toward ending this week. I’m fucking done. Have been done since Monday.

Some cool stuff on the horizon that I don’t quite think I can talk about yet but will announce soon. Vague enough? Yeah, sorry about that. I’ll clarify when I can, but keep an eye out. By way of a hint, it involves travel.

And as a reminder, the next Quarterly Review starts on March 27. I’m locking in the last of the reviews now, probably over the course of this coming week, then I start grabbing artwork, links and setting up the back end. Shit takes a long time, but as ever, I’ll get it done. So far looking like 50 reviews. Last one, if you’ll recall, was 60. Doing regular rounds of Radio Adds has taken away some of the need for that, thankfully.

Speaking of the Radio, I checked in yesterday with Slevin and he’s working on getting the full drive back up and running. I don’t know what happened to the operating system on the Raspberry Pi we use to host the drive with all the songs, but whatever it was apparently really did a number. Then, of course, I screwed up reinstalling the OS and had to start the whole process over, so the delay’s pretty much completely my fault. We’ll get there. New stuff has been added to the backup drive in the meantime, not that there was anything necessarily wrong with it all being Om, Sabbath and Candlemass. Nice to get some recent albums in there though, Kandodo McBain, All Them Witches and so on.

Fingers crossed that will be back online over the weekend, and as I’ve now acquired the aforementioned next cup of coffee — complete with the scoop of cinnamon protein powder that lets it serve as my breakfast — let’s run down the rest of what’s in store for next week. From the notes, subject to change:

Mon.: Radio Adds and a video premiere from Samavayo.
Tue.: Green Meteor review and track premiere, new Atavismo video.
Wed.: Devil’s Witches review and album stream, new Sergio Ch. video.
Thu.: Review of Death Alley’s live record, video premiere from Wight.
Fri.: Samsara Blues Experiment review and track premiere.

There’s more, of course, but that’s what I’m basing the week around, anyhow. In the meantime, you’ll pardon me if I consider a quiet weekend with The Patient Mrs. and the Little Dog Dio to be particularly well earned. I’ve got work to do in getting stuff ready for Monday, chasing down copy for the Roadburn ‘zine, the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, and writing a bio for Melbourne cosmic sludgers Merchant, but that’s the kind of busy I enjoy being and at least it’s a couple days I don’t have to drive to Pawtucket.

I hope that whatever you’re up to, you have a great and safe time. Have fun, relax or don’t depending on what you’re looking for, and be sure to check back in on Monday because there’s a lot of awesome stuff to come.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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audiObelisk: Seventh Batch of Roadburn 2011 Streams Posted (Black Math Horseman, Beaver and More)

Posted in audiObelisk on July 20th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

The march continues! I guess that’s what happens when you have something like 35,000 bands playing on three stages over the course of four days — you come out of it with a motherload of audio. This time around, new sets surface from Black Math Horseman, Aluk Todolo, Incredible Hog and Dutch natives Beaver, who were actually the only one of these four that I saw at the fest. Plenty to dig into, as always. Here are the links:

Aluk Todolo
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44948646#ondemand.44948646

Beaver
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44948782#ondemand.44948782

Black Math Horseman
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44948803#ondemand.44948803

Incredible Hog
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44948794#ondemand.44948794

Perpetual gratitude to Walter and Roadburn for allowing me to host these links. Roadburn‘s audio streams are recorded and mixed by Marcel van de Vandervoort and his team at Spacejam. Roadburn 2011 took place April 14-17, at the 013 Popcentrum in Tilburg, Netherlands.

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Black Math Horseman Go Continental

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

California psychedelicists Black Math Horseman‘s Tee Pee Records debut, Wyllt was one of the warmest meandering records of 2009. You just wanted to follow it wherever it was going. Likewise, I’d kind of like to follow the band as they tour around Europe in April, starting with an appearance at the much-discussed Roadburn festival and taking it from there. I’ll just have to console myself with their new video for “Tyrant,” which the label hosted over at Converse‘s blog. Apparently someone at Converse decided they like stoner music (they’re also sponsoring the Small Stone day party at SXSW). Good for them. Whoever it is, email me and we’ll discuss licensing costs for some exclusive Obelisk customs. Fun all around.

But back to Black Math Horseman. Click the image to see the video in all its infrared glory and behold the dates from the PR wire:

Black Math Horseman have announced a UK/European tour in April to coincide with their appearance at the 2010 Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Holland. Tour info is below.

2/19 SpacelandLos Angeles, CA w/ Ancestors and Intronaut
4/17 Roadburn FestivalTilburg, NL
4/18 TBA – London, UK
4/20 HafenklangHamburg, GER
4/21 SteinburchDuiburg, GER
4/22 DB’sUtrecht, NL
4/23 ConnewitzLeipzig, GER
4/24 BeatpolDresden, GER
4/25 Yacht ClubBrno, CZ
4/26 Cafe CairoWürzburg, GER
4/27 SedelLuzern, CH
4/28 RosenkellerJena, GER
4/29 TBA – Berlin, GER

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Black Math Horseman: Tales of a Rider’s Torment

Posted in Features on March 3rd, 2009 by JJ Koczan

It's dark and they're spooky.The brand of psychedelic post-desert rock Los Angeles foursome Black Math Horseman play has its roots deeply entrenched in the heady vision of what “progressive” has come to mean in this young century; where the term refers more to the general and intellectual consideration a band gives their music, rather than the technical difficulty in playing it. “How much do they think about what they’re doing?” in other words.

In the case of Black Math Horseman, as best as can be judged on hearing their Tee Pee Records debut, Wyllt, the answer is plenty. The record — aided in its task by a remarkable Scott Reeder (Kyuss, The Obsessed, This is probably the album cover.Goatsnake, etc.) production job — hoists itself upon the mind of the listener and rests easy in the head, hypnotic, until the crests of “Tyrant” flood over whatever landscape it is you want to picture while you’re listening. It’s a similar build-up-to-the-heavy methodology the many metallic disciples of Neurosis have clasped onto these last several years, but Black Math Horseman — particularly with the distant and reverbed vocals of bassist Sera Timms — have few such aggressive moments, despite what the tension in drummer Sasha Popovic‘s playing might lead you to believe.

After the jump, guitarist Ian Barry (complemented in the band by fellow six-stringer Bryan Tulao) fills in the details concerning the origins and aspirations of his band.

Read more »

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Say Hi to Black Math Horseman (You’ll be Raving about Their Album Soon Enough)

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Who the hell needs band photos?Congratulations to Los Angeles psychedelic rockers Black Math Horseman (singular), who signed to Tee Pee Records and announced their first full-length, Wyllt, would be out April 21.

Going by the two tracks up on their MySpace page, the music is a kind of post-stoner rock, lots of guitar but with some spacey and ambient passages as well. Vocalist Sera Timms brings something new to the table and has a voice in the droned-out tradition of Lori S. from Acid King. Never a bad thing.

Adding weight and desert cred to Wyllt is the fact that it was produced by former The Obsessed/Kyuss bassist Scott Reeder. Looks like Spring is shaping up quite nicely.

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