As NYC-based jazz label Pi Recordings prepares to release DAN WEISS STAREBABY‘s second album, Natural Selection, later this month, the lead single from the mammoth album has been posted alongside preorders and more. “The Long Diagonal” makes its public entrance through a BrooklynVegan exclusive premiere.
Natural Selection is the highly anticipated follow-up to drummer composer DAN WEISS‘s 2018 release Starebaby. Along with WEISS, the rest of the collective – who all return from the first album – is made up of a dream-team of musicians who share a love for heavy metal and whose playing is unbound by genre, with Ben Monder on guitar, Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantômas) on bass, and the twin-keyboard/piano/electronics attack of Matt Mitchell and Craig Taborn. It’s all captured exceptionally by veteran recording engineer Ron Saint Germain (Soundgarden, Living Colour, Bad Brains, Sonic Youth) and mastered by Joe Gastwirt.
DAN WEISS offers with the album’s first single, “‘The Long Diagonal’ is a showcase for some of the individual personalities of the band. Craig Taborn takes a brilliant solo on piano at the end, but at its center is a monster guitar solo from Ben Monder, my favorite of all his recorded Starebaby solos, hands down. The title ‘The Long Diagonal’ is a nod to my love of chess: Something about the way the melody moves against the bassline reminded me of a bishop’s diagonal movement. The track is also an example of something that I composed from the electric bass, an instrument that I’ve been studying seriously over the last couple of years just so I could approach the music from a different, maybe more rock-oriented perspective.”
BrooklynVegan writes with the song’s debut, “As you might expect, ‘The Long Diagonal’ is a dizzying, complex, genre-defying song that goes through all kinds of twists and turns, from warm piano to screaming distorted guitar solos and beyond.”
Delve into DAN WEISS STAREBABY’s “The Long Diagonal” only at BrooklynVegan RIGHT HERE.
Watch for additional audio and video samples of the monstrous Natural Selection to post over the coming days.
Starebaby presented an unconventional compounding of doom metal, electronic music, and improvisation into a dark and mystic brew. The album was named to many best-of 2018 lists, including Rolling Stone, which described it as, “an album that creates its own sonic cinematic reality,” while NPR called it, “Astonishing… A true convergence of heavy trudge and spontaneous combustion.” Now, DAN WEISS and his top-tier collective of musicians return with another equally stirring, moody, expertly crafted masterpiece with Natural Selection.
The recording of Natural Selection came fast at the end of a run of performances for the band – also named STAREBABY – which helped further cement the group’s unique sound. It’s staggering to contemplate the wide-ranging ability of these musicians from bone-crunching power to pensive reflection; exacting hits to improvised texture; faith to the compositions and manic improvisation. Each of these musicians is a leader in his own right; their 2019 releases evidence the sheer scope of their individual talents Dunn, a member of Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, Melvins, and Secret Chiefs 3, released his album Nocturnes, which features his compositions for string quartet, piano and bass. Monder, who plays on David Bowie’s Blackstar, put out the dreamy Day After Day, for solo guitar and trio. Taborn collaborated with pianist Vijay Iyer on The Transitory Poems, an album of piano duos. Mitchell’s Phalanx Ambassadors features his usual synapse-exploding, intricately detailed work, this time for guitar, vibraphone, bass and drums. WEISS himself released the more jazz-oriented Utica Box, featuring his long-running trio with pianist Jaco Sacks, bassist Thomas Morgan, with the addition of bassist Eivind Opsvik. The success of Natural Selection would not be possible without these particular musicians, with their wide-ranging, all-embracing love of music and ability to execute everything that WEISS throws at them with conviction.