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Dan Weiss: Starebaby (Pi)

Review of album from heavy-metal-inspired quintet led by drummer

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Cover of Dan Weiss album Starebaby on Pi
Cover of Dan Weiss album Starebaby on Pi

What can you expect from drummer Dan Weiss’ heavy-metal-inspired quintet Starebaby? An eviscerating, exploratory edge, yes; utter mayhem, no. Weiss brings the same exacting standards to Starebaby that were previously evident in his Indo-jazz hybridizations and sui generis large-ensemble projects.

The eight doom-laden tracks presented here are incredibly powerful, but they rarely come off as demonstrations of pure force for the sake of it. Weiss is too precise an architect and thinker to let might simply have its way. That’s obvious from the start, as Ben Monder’s quietly absorbing guitar ushers in “A Puncher’s Chance,” a mixture of the weighty and curious that plays to the pugilist’s mindset with its off-kilter attacks. “Depredation” likewise deserves its name, with queries and comebacks aplenty serving as prelude to a main event of Morse code-like ministrations and unfettered shredding.

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