Boomkat Product Review:
Humboldt County outsiders Brian Pyle and Merrick McKinlay return after over a decade with a knotted suite of cosmic psychedelia that's as unclassifiable as it is vital. If you caught any of the duo's gear on Root Strata, Digitalis, Weird Forest of Blackest Rainbow, you're gonna need this latest transmission! RIYL Vibracathedral Orchestra, Cluster, Cloudland Canyon or Sunburned Hand of the Man.
Thinking about it, there couldn't be a better home for Starving Weirdos than Discrepant. The wayward duo have been absent so long we kinda assumed the project was shelved, but 'Atheistsaregods' proves there's plenty of gas in the tank yet. They were always hard to pigeonhole, making their name with a grueling tour schedule and endless CDRs and tapes at a point when the US DIY scene was fertile and hopeful. In 2023 that sector of the underground has all but faded to nothing, but Starving Weirdos have taken the opportunity to shift inward, coming out with a ruff-hewed set of fractured electronics, stifled moans and hypnotic percussion that sounds tense, anxious and unsettled.
Opener 'Haiku Nagasaki' pits a booming electronic kick and fictile toms against ring modulated oscillations that whirr like broken machinery, while bottled, detuned blips announce a strangulated, cybernetic voice and whooshes of aerated noise. The track crossfades into 'Invocation' as if it's the next phrase in a particularly spirited mixtape, balancing acidic squelches with Lynchian atmospherics and day-zero kosmische improvisations. Pained, saturated vocalizations wheeze and guitars ring out over the tense electronics, before 'Barulho do Sambe' dematerializes us to another planet altogether. A chaotic scuffle of jerky beatbox drums and manic, helium vocals, it's like hearing Muslimgauze at the wrong speed, buckling shakily under the weight of a janky DSL connection.
The title track breaks from the flow slightly, a more hopeful symphony of organ drones, choral cries and foley clatter that reminds us of Black To Comm, and Pyle and McKinley peak with 'Dudukahar (Reed Player)', using woodwind drones and distorted guitar vamps to evoke a powerful ritual. The duo bring in hand drum percussion on the closing track 'For Vinny', bringing back the pulsing kosmische synths and dilating the mood with wavering, sustained cello tones. It's cracking stuff, and as weird and uncompromising as ever.