Have you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.
“On the Horizon” by Locust (featuring Neil Halstead)
When perusing through my CD collection, one may notice several discs with radio station call letters on them…call letters from the station I deejayed for in college…promo discs distributed to the station…radio copies. So I stole some CD’s from the radio station I worked for. So what. I guess I’m a bad person, but I totally discovered some wonderful tunes whilst being said bad person. And one of those tunes is “On the Horizon,” the trippy, Neil Halstead-assisted album closer from Locust’s 1998 LP, Morning Light.
Though it never became quite the cultural juggernaut that maybe it could have been, trip-hop was a fairly prevalent music genre in its day, specifically the late 90’s. And while acts like Portishead, Massive Attack, and Tricky lead the proverbial charge, there were plenty of smaller artists that fit the mold too. Combining chilled electronica, hip-hop beats, mellow instrumentation, and some well placed samples, Locust was one of those oft overlooked artists. Morning Light is a pretty solid effort from start to finish (there’s even a wonderful Karen Carpenter sample in the mix), but it’s the finale, featuring Neil Halstead of Slowdive and Mojave 3 fame on vocals, that really cements the deal. “On the Horizon” begins with some off kilter orchestration, vibraphone and reverb, an array of different instruments both live and synthetic, and Halstead’s soft, dreamy vocals. It takes a couple of minutes before everything begins to come together, the string section and a haunting beat forming like dark clouds in the distance. Melancholy reigns.
The song has always made me think about an old friend of mine who endured an unreal familial tragedy when we were in college, and her subsequent emotional distance that was the result. Over the following years, we grew apart and eventually lost touch entirely. And that has always made me sad. “On the Horizon” encapsulates that feeling perfectly. I still love her dearly, and I hope that she’s all right wherever she is.
“She’s fixing her wings just to fly…”
From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.