Host Skull exists as Will Dyar and David Bernabo's studio project that also dables in art (2012's Inhabit Host Skull installation). The band also exists as a four-piece live act consisting of Bernabo, guitarist Erik Cirelli, bassist Christopher James, and drummer Rich Kawood.
Host Skull's Destruction (DD/CD, 2017)
Host Skull's Black Mark (LP, 2013)
Totally Fatalist (LP, 2011)
Fourth River (composition, 2011)
HOST SKULL'S DESTRUCTION (2016)
HOST SKULL'S BLACK MARK (LP, 2013)
Bandcamp Download/LP/CD: http://hostskull.bandcamp.com/album/host-skulls-black-mark
Amazon: Digital Download: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Mark/dp/B00C27OGSQ
After more than two years of recording, exhibiting art and sound installations, and making video work, Host Skull returns with their second album, Black Mark. Like their debut album, Totally Fatalist, the record plays with pop formats, song structures, and harmony, but this time around, the transcontinental band relies more on “feel”, allowing rhythms to sway and moments to linger. While the first record was recorded as “tape-trading” overdub sessions, core members David Bernabo and Will Dyar spent a week in Sante Fe, NM recording basic tracks. The result was a narrowing of eclecticism and a strengthening of the collaboration.
Through the warm crunch of Rhodes piano, harmonized guitars, and falsetto vocals, the band presents a series of songs that unfold without doubling back. “Hypernarrative” opens the record with a narrative about dislocation while the music filters through arrangements before crescendoing in a few blasts. “Living In” plots winding classical guitar against pitched bowls in a hybrid folk and jazz ballad. Elsewhere, “Bootleg” and lead single “A Man/Woman is a Lovesome Thing” pivot in the direction of soul and classicism, but include enough false footholds to keep things interesting.
The album also features Brandon Masterman on falsetto vocals and baritone and soprano saxophones, along with Shanti Randall (viola), Ben Montgomery (vocals, bass), Erik Cirelli (lap steel, guitar), and PJ Roduta (pitched bowls, percussion). The album is being released on Wild Kindness Records as limited edition of 300 180 gram, gatefold LPs, digitally, and a series of handmade CD packages. Black Mark packaging and pressing were funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign.
Artwork and Design: Joe Mruk // Musicians: David Bernabo, Wil Dyar, Brandon Masterman, Ben Montgomery, Shanti Randall, Erik Cirelli, PJ Roduta
This video session from The Big Room was never finished, but this rough cut sneaked out.
Totally Fatalist (LP, 2011)
Bandcamp Download/LP: https://hostskull.bandcamp.com/album/totally-fatalist-2
Host Skull is a new venture from multi-instrumentalists David Bernabo and Will Dyar that aims to play with the concept of a band, while making interesting and engaging music. Since the band is split between Pittsburgh and Sante Fe, this obstacle has provided the chance for Host Skull to double. Instead of one band, Host Skull will consist of two bands that operate in different cities. This disjointed, yet distinct identity reveals itself on the debut full-length, Totally Fatalist, from the ensemble.
Totally Fatalist consists of eleven tracks that speak in one voice of many parts. There are moments of 5ive Style-inflected guitar cut short by skwonky staccato rhythms, dub bass, and pop bliss. Jagged pop songs are crafted and (de)constructed with 70s-era orchestrations of stirring horns and keys, flutes, flowering guitars, smooth vocals, and a melange of melodies, all undercut with a tilting post-rock articulation. The resulting record plays like a summer hangout session one always remembers and one hopes doesn't end.
Will Dyar was a founding member of Oakley Hall, has performed with Christy&Emily, and has worked with Company, Dirty Faces, and Ex-Models. David Bernabo has performed with a number of acts (Assembly, Boxstep, Vale and Year), curated the Abstract On Black imprint, and has worked on music and multi-media projects with Jem Finer, Justin Hopper, and Ragnar Kjartansson. Membership in the band may increase exponentially during Host Skull's live shows scheduled after Totally Fatalist is released in early fall of 2011, and certainly when Host Skull opens the "Inhabit Host Skull" art installation at the renowned Pittsburgh art gallery 707 Penn Gallery in March 2012 that will allow anyone to be a recording member of Host Skull. A number of other musicians have already contributed to the project: Brandon Masterman (saxophones, voice) , Liz Adams (voice, double bass), Ben Montgomery (trumpet, percussion), Kerrith Livengood (flutes, piccolo), Jim Siders (trombone), Vince Camut (pedal steel), among others.
Host Skull will be on tour consistently throughout the end of 2011 and through 2012, in support of Totally Fatalist, as well Fourth River: Vol I - Welcome to Pittsburgh, their release for Antephonic sister label Contraphonic.
Artwork and Design: Adam Dant (illustrations), Bearded (design) // Musicians: David Bernabo, Wil Dyar, Brandon Masterman, Ben Montgomery, Liz Adams, Kerrith Livengood, Vince Camut, Josh Verbanets, Jim Siders, Christopher James, Darcy Trunzo