The solo debut from pop group Soul Coughing's keyboard sampler Mark De Gli Antoni marks a return to the talented musician's roots as an experimental electronic composer. His distinct use of simple melodies and exotic samples over inventive rhythm tracks reveals his strong songwriting role in Soul Coughing, as several of the tracks on his solo album sound like outtakes from that band's most electronically inclined release, El Oso. His employment of fellow Coughers Yuval Gabay on drums, and bassist Sebastian Steinberg on many of the tracks only exacerbates the similarity, although De Gli Antoni does not conform to the pop conventions that limit his work with Soul Coughing. Other tracks, however, are purely experimental, with highly manipulated sounds and voices that bear resemblance to the musique concrète tradition and current electronic composers like David Shea and Ikue Mori. Despite some unfortunate song titles like "Jigaboo" and "Me Goddess Tu Goddess," Horse Tricks is a solid effort from an interesting composer, appropriately released on John Zorn's Tzadik label. On "They Wave," guest Elliott Smith's voice and piano are manipulated to the point of non-recognition until the very end of the track. There are some interesting vocals by Alan and Mimi Sparhawk and Joe Bini, and the considerable talents of Steinberg and Gabay make for an ultimately satisfying electronic music release.
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AllMusic Review by Matthew Carlin