Nine Horses made their debut a couple years back on the debut Snow Bourne Sorrow. Founded by ex-Japan members David Sylvian and Steve Jansen, the project also included contributions electronic musician Burnt Friedman, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and even Arve Henriksen,and Stina Nordenstam. The debut album was easily some of the most mainstream music that Sylvian had been involved with in some time, and worked wonderfully in places while seeming like a work-in-progress in others.
The eight song Money For All EP is the newest batch of music from the group (who is now Sylvian, Jansen, and Friedman, along with another slew of various players), and it features three new tracks along with a couple remixes of those tracks and different versions of songs that appeared on their first album. Like the debut, it's another hit-or-miss effort, with great tracks offset by less exciting ones. Musically, it starts out just find with a clunky beat and some chopped-up vibes and harmonica on "Money For All." Punctuated with some gospel-style backing vocals, Sylvian takes on the US administration with his lyrics and despite my shared distaste, it's so heavy-handed and obvious that it becomes distracting.
"Get The Hell Out" is another track in which the lyrical content (very direct lines about an abusive relationship) feels like an odd fit with the music (almost spy-theme sounding electro-pop with horn stabs) until an orchestral ending that pulls things together. Fortunately, the middle of the release is a little bit more subtle, and it's here where it's the strongest. "Birds Sing For Their Lives" features Nordenstam singing lullaby-style vocals over a gurgling, orchestral ambient track that scrapes along with dread, while the remix of "The Banality Of Evil" by Friedman fractures the original even more, layering the piece with a hissy, almost deconstructed feel while throwing in little bits of keyboards, scratchy bits of sampled horns, and soft waves of guitar feedback.
If you're a fan of Sylvain's work, you know that he's not always the most subtle singer or lyricist out there, and while I'm all for protest songs, this one just comes across as a bit too clunky for my liking. The remainder of the EP is filled out with remixes of both of the first tracks (with the Friedman remix of "Get The Hell Out" improving on the original by largely cracking apart the original beat) and a couple more remixes of songs off Snow Bourne Sorrow. As mentioned above, it's inconsistent to say the least, but it does have a few highlights, and if you enjoy Sylvain you'll probably want to add it to your collection.