Horde of Two Biography:
Horde of Two is the instrumental duo of guitarist David Lester (Mecca Normal) and Wendy Atkinson (solo experimental bassist). Horde of Two released their first album, “Guitar & Bass Actions,” in 2009 (CDs available from K Records online store and downloads from Bandcamp). Horde of Two’s song “IWW: The Lynching of Wesley Everest” came out in 2010 on the comp CD “In The Orchard Of Osiris” released by Michigan label It Takes A Village To Make Records.
Guitar and Bass Actions includes abstract and ambient soundscapes, poppy instrumentals and music to cry by. They used various techniques to provoke distinct and startling sounds from their instruments: a knife on a guitar, improvising while watching films with the sound off and overlapping and intertwining disparate sounds.
Recording this album began in the dead of winter with a TV monitor set up in the living room of Wendy’s apartment. The video was cued to a murder scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Blackmail. They picked up their instruments – guitar and bass – Wendy pressed the record button on the 4-track. The music unfolded in a collaborative response to the tension on screen. Lush tendrils of bass hang from wrought iron balconies of guitar.
DAVID LESTER biography:
David Lester is a painter, graphic designer, cartoonist, and the guitarist in the rock duo Mecca Normal (13 albums, K, Matador, Kill Rock Stars). He is the author of The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism and the graphic novel, The Listener (Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2011). The Listener was a finalist for ForeWord Reviews‘ “2011 Book Of The Year Award” in the graphic novel category. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Selected “Horde of Two” Reviews :
Recommended if you like the Mike Watt/Kira Roessler duo Dos…Lester is unfailingly solid on the guitar, total stoic folky-electric pop sense, kinda makes me think of a warmer Young Marble Giants. Atkinson is the one that leads the tunes if they go anywhere (they don’t have to when they’re already somewhere to begin with), via mellow melodic lines and calm shifts into moves like whalespeak feedback.” Blastitude, Chicago, IL
“[Horde of Two] pursue variations on melodic riffs and brief musical refrains, duo trading them back and forth, and deftly counter-pointing or supporting each other’s playing along the way. There is some over-dubbing, just enough to exact a mood. Even so, the set maintains a severe and minimalist feel.
This is crucial, because it gives the album tautness and tightness that reflects the film’s own tension, with tracks like “Union Canal” rife with nervous energy. “Blackmail” itself is as sneaky as its title, an interplay of dark nefarious forces waiting in the shadows. The experimental piece “The Knife,” is filled with foreboding before erupting into violence as bloody as the murder scene in the movie. “Freighters at Midnight,” in contrast, is as serene as two ships passing in the night, with Atkinson’s double bass deftly imitating the sound of ship horns.
There are many quiet, introspective moments within, with “Conversation in a Berlin Train Station,” the set’s dreamy apotheosis, and the one number that includes a third instrument—piano. But for each of these calmer numbers, there’s a darker counter-part, with the skittering guitar and ominous bass of “Evil,” capturing the fear and terror at the movie’s core. This is the duo’s debut album, and a wildly successful pairing it is, and one fervently hopes it’s not a one-off collaboration. Rating: 4/5 –Jo-Ann Greene, Wonkavision Magazine
“The first song had me mesmerized, its bass sounds all distant and murky, like something calling out from the ocean. The guitar definitely had its charm too, the end of the fourth track finds it teetering on the brink of a pop song and then collapsing into a manic cartoonish slobber…that kind of mood you get when you put on the first Silver Mt. Zion record. Wendy is wonderful with her basses, electric, acoustic and double. And David’s guitars resonate like his paintings, long thick strokes of colour, equal parts mischievous, maudlin, and haunting. And I like their record a lot; it’s ripe with personality and authenticity.” –The Skinny, Vancouver
“We’re excited to introduce you to new Radio Stars, Horde of Two, featuring Wendy Atkinson (June 2007 Radio Star) and David Lester of Mecca Normal! Their latest release, Guitar & Bass Actions is superb + highly enjoyable! —Church of Girl Radio, Portland
“The guitar and bass are constantly swirling around each other, like knife fighters from a Borges story. The use of looping and other non-traditional techniques lend structure and narrative to the otherwise loosely assembled songs. Lester and Atkinson stand on solid ground, having created a handful of even-tempered tunes that are both original and easy on the ears.” — Bryon Hayes, Exclaim, Toronto
… the pair dabble in atmospheric, almost cinematic soundscapes (the aforementioned “Conversation…”), melodic, create quality lo-fi pop (“Stockholm”) and riff on ‘90s alterna-rock structures (“Wander on the Dark” and “Galiano Island”). — Aarik Danielsen, PopMatters
“Wendy Atkinson is also part of the duo, Horde of Two (formed with David Lester of Mecca Normal). They released their first album, Guitar & Bass Actions in 2009: “…one of the most intriguing instrumental albums of the last few years. This is the duo’s debut album, and a wildly successful pairing it is, and one fervently hopes it’s not a one-off collaboration.” — Wonkavision Magazine, Philly, PA