Decibrity Playlist: Starkweather

Photo by Freddie Ross
Photo by Freddie Ross

Back in 2005, I talked to Starkweather guitarist Todd Forkin about his band’s then new album for issue #16.  It was one of my first freelance pieces for the magazine after leaving the friendly confines of 1032 Arch.  At the time, Croatoan was the band’s third LP and first since 1995’s Into the Wire.  While the Philadelphians have dropped another LP and split in the intervening years, April saw the re-release of their first two records via Translation Loss. So 113 issues later, it’s fitting in some way that, after the break, vocalist Rennie Resmini closes out this little series. To every one who has contributed to or read even one word of these playlists over the last three plus years — thank you.

You can pick up a copy of the Crossbearer and Into the Wire reissues here

From Godspeed You! Black Emperor to Swans to Gorguts to Ehnahre through Kayo Dot and Neurosis and Jute Gyte, there’s an appreciation of classical instrumentation and composers. I’m not one that learned music at a conservatory, but I’m knowledgeable enough to differentiate Chopin from Xenakis…

Take Bang on a Can’s Michael Gordon and his haunting score for Bill Morrison’s Decasia, a film composed of disintegrating celluloid imagery matched with de-tuned pianos and an out of phase orchestra.

A further mutation of classical music is QR Ghazala‘s Threnody to the New Victims of HiroshimaA mastermind circuit bender and instrument builder, he has worked with, among others, King Crimson, Tom Waits, and Peter Gabriel. Using his vox insecta, Ghazala has re-imagined Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima

Voivod championed “Build Your Weapons – Harry Partch predated it by decades. Building instruments with an aesthetic that would make Dr. Seuss proud and sounds full of unearthly, off-kilter colors and tonalities.    

Beating a hasty retreat from the formal, Test Dept.‘s “Total State Machine” is as fitting as ever now as it was then. Appropriate they should resurface this year. 

Making things sparer yet still being frightfully heavy, Muscle and Marrow’s Ritual is the perfect follow up to The Human Cry. Leaves one begging for more.

Sparse, feral with riffage and recalling the wobbly, thumb on the turntable slow motion of Deathspell Omega, Portugal’s Vaee Solis shine an Adversarial Light.

*Photo by Freddie Ross
**Pick up a copy of the Crossbearer and Into the Wire reissues here