PREVIEW: The Horse Loom @ Morden Tower
By Lauren Vevers on September 14, 2012 in Music
If it was a delicacy, Northumbrian guitarist and singer Steve Malley would describe his music as a freshly foraged wild mushroom. “You have to get your hands dirty and make an effort to find them.” He explains. “They’re not as conventionally attractive as a shop-bought mushroom, but preferred by a discerning few in the know.”
Steve is a self-effacing kind of guy and would hardly be one to boast about his own musical success. In the early 90’s he played with Crane, then went on to play in Kodiak, Four Frame and most notably The Unit Ama, a band that sought to push the limits of rock music by using intense complication and trickery. His current solo outfit, The Horse Loom, encapsulates the same passion whilst combining the mesmerizing sounds of heart-warming folk music, tender vocals and impressive feats of guitar playing.
Steve always knew he wanted to be a musician from an early age. “I love the guitar and its players. I am particularly fond of British finger-style players, such as Bert Jansch, Nic Jones, Davy Graham and I love Martin Carthy’s playing on his early records,” Steve tells me. “I am intrigued by artists such as Mark Rothko, Bill Viola, Matthew Barney, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Yoko Ono and Michael Haneke. These are my current mind-occupiers but I keep many more on the shelves.”
He’s had a busy couple of months having just finished recording an LP due to be released by Gareth Hardwick’s Low Point label in September.
“It is a full length album which was recorded in one day in Nottingham. All the tracks are first or second takes. It’s meant as a document, first and foremost. I hope it maintains a certain spontaneity at the expense of perfectionism. It’s the sound of me playing my own songs with tunes made up of partly vocals and partly instrumentals. All my songs are inspired by the landscape and the sense of place I get from Northumberland, where I was born and still live.”
As well as focusing on his own music, Steve is taking time out to support fellow guitar enthusiast and musician Meg Baird, who will be performing at The Cumberland Arms on Thursday 13 September. He also has exciting plans to collaborate with other artists in the future.
“I have a project in the pipeline that involves a load of people who I’ve seen or played with over the years. We hope to get together in a secluded Northumbrian location to write and record for a week. This will take a lot of planning, however all the people I invited have said yes so far.”
When I asked him what was next for Horse Loom, he modestly replied, “to improve!” Steve may remain decidedly humble, but the power and beauty of his music speaks volumes for him.
The Horse Loom’s album is officially launched on Sunday 16 September at Morden Tower in Newcastle. He will also be joined by Cath & Phil Tyler and The Long Lonesome Go. Image courtesy of Idene Roozbayani
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