Generally calmer and smoother than Bill Horist's typical output, Lyric/Suite is a 13-part, 40-minute work of solo multi-tracked electric guitar. Composed to accompany choreography conceived by Davida Monk and premiered at the Banff Center for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, during November 2002, the piece is presented here without its vocal element (excerpts of and improvisations on a text by Jan Zwicky), and is thus stripped from most of its contextual meaning. What is left stands firmly on its own. The 13 short movements provide a shifting set of moods while retaining a high level of cohesion. The music consists of finely arranged stacks of looped guitars. The three- to four-minute format doesn't allow for over-repetition. The guitarist accumulates his layers quickly, making for some dynamic, fast-paced music. "Overture" is surprisingly quiet and built over a cyclical motif evoking a music box tune. The work gains momentum over the next few tracks, increasing in drive, volume, and agitation. It culminates in "Gesture," the only track where Horist showcases his harsher, "noisician" side. By then, the music evokes the maniacal soundscapes of Robert Fripp, the thickness of Richard Pinhas, and the languid grace of David Torn. Things predictably boil down over the last few tracks, although "Entropy," the longest piece at six and a half minutes, still packs several surprises, including some gritty tones and a rhythmical loop of prepared guitar. Lyric/Suite may not be the most representative item in Horist's discography, but it stands as one of the truly good albums of non-ambient multi-tracked solo guitars, along with Torn's What Means Solid, Traveller? and Bernard Falaise's Do.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture