The development, refinement, and subsequent/consequent self-realization of an artist is often a grueling process, requiring an abundance of experimentation, risks, and failures. In the case of Rene Nuñez Cabrera and his moniker Horoscope, unthinkable lengths of work and sacrifice culminate on his forthcoming sophomore LP, Misogyny Stone, set for an April 21 release on Wharf Cat Records, and only about a year-and-a-half’s distance from his debut, El Espejo Y El Mar. The transition is immediately recognizable with one listen to the title track, a six-minute meditation of mood and control, expectation and deception, entirely composed of modular synthesizers.
An unrelenting pulse of percussion barrels in; dance or trance, take your pick, a nightmarish ball bouncing, unending, from who knows where. A perhaps previously uncharacteristic structure is introduced, and over this comes a weightless aura, like that of high strings at the opening of a symphony. It’s delicate, as though you’re stepping into the high-ceilinged atrium of a stranger’s mansion. You don’t quite know how to behave, how to be, without disturbing peace. But you don’t have to worry for long. Scraping electronic sounds are added to help grind teeth and gnaw flesh, alternatively giving way to a more fluid ambience, like a calming backlit projection of water against a surface. And it’s conflicted, conflicting, creating its own drama, resolving it, and obliterating its resolution with an ensuing layer of sound. Which do you wish to feel? Unmistakeable tension, or dubious tranquility? The question is answered for you, as all control is submitted to the horridly impassive, horridly almighty recitation of Kathryn Undorfer. She describes a grouping of underlings, over whom she is god. “They are small, and they are mine,” she states. “I put them in line and knock them down. They like it. They all come here, so they must….” Where, around the time of El Espejo’s release, it may have been that a live Horoscope performance would have been beneficial to understanding the project, Nuñez Cabrera now ensures a standalone captivation through sound.
(But still, you should see it live if you have the chance.)