A teacher I had once told me that the worst thing you could give an artist is absolute freedom–no time restrictions, no rules. While that might sound great to some, those limitless possibilities are enough to paralyse most people. After all, without anyone holding you back, you’ll never get your project done until you’ve 100% satisfied–and when’s the last time that’s ever happened? Some much prefer having a deadline and rules: that way whatever you’re working on gets released and you can finally move on to your next project.
Maybe that’s the mentality behind Barcelona-based folk label Son Canciones’s Among Horses, an experimental project that gives musicians arbitrary restrictions under which to release their music. For each of the records in this series, they invite two folk artists to stay in a Spanish ranch for seven days–each one a stranger to the other. After a week getting to know each other (and hopefully becoming friends), both artists release a joint EP together. Think of it as a Celebrity Big Brother experiment, only with less drama, less parties, and more folk songwriting.
Son Canciones already released two records in the series, appropriately titled Among Horses I and Among Horses II. On the latest, Filipino-American Haley Heynderickx and Spanish musician Max García Conover take the reigns in the hopes of producing something great–even with their non-traditional release schedule. (Listening to the songs, you’d never know that the songs were written under this context though–the only line hinting at it is the line “I might go to Spain / Sleep out with the dogs” in “Little Wind”.)
And it works–Among Horses III is filled with songs that sound varied as it does timeless, despite the fact that it was made within such a short timeframe. From the haunting “Mother” to the desert sing-along “Slow Talkin'” and “Crow Song”, Heynderickx and Conover prove that they’re an interesting pair–one that should definitely collaborate some more in the future.
Among Horses IV, anyone?