Starring featuring Guardian Alien
/ Linear Downfall
Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 9:00 PM CDT
(8:00 PM Doors)
The Basement, Nashville, TN
21 years and over
Since their inception in 2008, “Starring” has honed the art of sublimely stoned textures that unite progressive symphonic whatever with endless machine-like repetitions and bedroom lullabies. Unhinged, introspective, but also weirdly unpredictable, this music is like a nutty and cosmic musical ice-cream sundae made by an alien krautrock junkie. Front-woman Clara Hunter calls this wild precision “sparkle-prog.” Here in LP form, ABCDEFG-HIJK-LMNOP-QRSTUV-WXYZ offers a creative bouquet that integrates fastidious studio experimentation with elements of the band’s early hot-blooded and earsplitting shows in the corners of Brooklyn’s DIY rock scene.
In 2011, these long-time friends holed up in Brooklyn’s St. Cecilia’s Church with producer Matt Mehlan (of Skeletons) to write and record this album, aiming at something sculptural and deliberate that merges the lyrical with the experimental. New ideas came fast and furious as Starring explored musical territory untouched by all five members’ other musical projects (Pterodactyl, Skeletons, Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang, Talibam, Frankie Rose, the Fancy, and sundry experimental projects) so a lot of sublimated repression and newly-tapped potentiality went into the composition of this, their Northern Spy debut, a sleepy-psycho explosion of trap doors and wild juxtapositions.
ABCDEFG-HIJK-LMNOP-QRSTUV-WXYZ combines razor sharp minimalism with dreamy poetry. It captures elements of the frenetic energy of the band’s live show, but here it is overlain with a new palate of synthesizers, delay effects, drum processing, aux percussion, and vocals that create delicate, but sometimes radical juxtapositions. Over the course of the album’s six cuts, choruses soar at monstrous heights framed by mechanical and occult trances. Dead jazz turns up with fuzzy 8-bit solos, whistling synths pipe beneath ghostly choral arrangements, viola lines in microtonal modes swoop into ornamented curls and loops while Hunter’s girlish vocals whisper the record’s secrets with surreal, woozy melodies. Concretely, the album recalls the classic sounds of European prog rock (Magma, Faust, Neu!), the unhinged grit of 1970’s New York no wave artists like Suicide, the earliest cuts from minimalists like Terry Riley and Philip Glass, and even a dose of post-rock’s strung-out improvisations.