With this Starving Weirdos 7incher Nate Rulli has taken the a big first step into the world of vinyl with his Abandon Ship label. Along for the ride is a CD-r reissue of Abandon Ship buddies Slasher Risk’s LP Triple Jesus that Nate, being the nice dude that he is, stuck in with my order.
Starving Weirdos are a crew I’ve had a bit of rocky listening relationship with, I remember quite a while back (2006 I think) there was some double CD that everyone was loving except me (though I think Outer Space Gamelan may have shared my sentiments). I’ve checked in periodically with the group though and I liked the subsequent releases I've heard a bit more but was never wowed. I threw caution to the wind and purchased this sucker because it’s a piece of Abandon Ship history and I love 7inches, and lo and behold, I dig it. It’s also a good way to test my theory that artists put their best material on 7inchs. I can’t exactly tell which is side is A and B but I’m gonna guess that “Absolute Freedom” is the side with “Starving Weirdos” on the label and that “Mt. Josephet” is the on the side with “Absolute Freedom” printed on the label. It’s counterintuitive but that’s my guess.
“Absolute Freedom” is a great track propelled by alternating samples of drums and various glistening drone-inducers. The strong rhythmic presence is the key to the track’s success I think because things keep moving, never outstaying their welcomes. There’s a real off-kilter vibe about the whole thing despite the constant rhythmic push. The piece wraps up with some near-incomprehensible free form rant, free form drumming and then a surprisingly formed (and catchy) alt rock chord progression for the last ten seconds. Weird track but that goes with out saying.
Rhythm plays a big part in “Mt. Josephet” too, with a marching drum pattern and swelling organ tones. Again the rhythmic sensibilities keep things jaunty and on the move. Relatively little changes throughout most of the track so the drums are necessary to help the rest of track get under your skin. At some point the drums fade and the drones run free. Though the track is relatively hypnotic and then pretty, but overall it’s a bit static. I wish there was a bit more going on. But as is, it’s still a one fun to jam.
I reviewed this Slasher Risk record in LP form quite a while ago, and in case you're wondering, I’m not above straight-up recycling my previous review. Though I made the necessary changes to accompany the new CD-r format. However, I review the CD-r’s bonus tracks after the quote.
“Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t the name Slasher Risk make you think violence? Anyway, I wasn’t sure what I was in for but figured it’d probably be pretty noisy. To my surprise however, the first track is a wandering dual guitar jam. Excellent! I love noise and all but I really love dual guitar jams. This particular one is a warbly, glistening bout of clean toned tanglings. The best reference points I can think of are, Tom Carter projects, Sarin Smoke and Spiderwebs. This Slasher Risk jam though is a bit more consonant than those. Despite the long track length the jam is never stuck spinning its wheels. There’s always a momentum pushing things forward mostly due to the well-employed rhythm/lead style. The guitars trade off playing more coherent/rhythmic parts and more free/textural parts. This track because of its length has to have been improvised, which is amazing to me cause Andy and Sara ceaselessly turn out spectacular arpeggio/interplay/whatever after spectacular arpeggio/interplay/whatever. There are lots and lots of beautiful breaks where they’ll build rhythmically to some point where it all dissipates into a beautiful melody. Things get a bit rougher and more menacing towards the end without really changing their sound at all, which is always a thing for my ears to behold. This piece just keeps on ruling and ruling, never getting old never getting boring. So yeah, this jam is totally killer. Slasher Risk are occupying an interesting space in the guitar-duosphere because a) their guitars are totally meant to sound like guitars b) they use traditional tactics in an interesting way, marrying the long psych jam with good, compelling guitar playing and well composed melodic interaction. Well done.
The course of the next three tracks sees a bit noisier confrontational side of the duo. I can’t tell if they are rolling in dual guitar format or not. There is one guitar definitely, but other person could be guitar or just effects or something. It’s an ominous sounding ride and difficult to pin down. Again, like the first track, Slasher Risk keeps forging ahead running through different portions of sound. At one point there’s a guitar strum and then noisy squiggles made from effects or synth or guitar maybe. At another there’s a pulsing guitar drone interrupted by flashes of static noise. While the movements don’t gel as well as they did on the first piece, there’s still a good momentum to the proceedings. Not so for the next two tracks though. Unfortunately, the third piece is a bunch of random fumbling and never coheres into anything really meaningful, ending rather anti-climactically. Nonetheless, Triple Jesus is still, for the most part, quite a great record.”
Two bonus live cuts are included on the CD-r. Both recordings are totally scuzzed out and the first is a nine minute run of assaulting guitar and drums. It has a definitely more “rock” vibe than anything else on the album. The second track is rad two minutes of sludgy, broken speaker vehemence. The live-quality recording doesn’t always work in the favor of the first bonus track but this cut is right at home. I could see this song fitting snugly on a split 7inch with any number of heavy scuzz rock acts.
The Starving Weirdos’ platter is limited to 500 and still in print. The CD-r looks to be available on Slasher Risk’s myspace. Each come with their own insert with info and images.