Hunger Artist


Hunger Artist Samsara LP

If Samsara is the cycle of death and rebirth, then that is the story of this album. HUNGER ARTIST consists of Edward Scales, Michael Honch, Tom Messmer, and Carl Silvio, and was formed in Rochester, NY in the mid-’80s. These eight songs were recorded at PCI Recording in 1989, the reels allegedly sitting behind closed doors all this time, just now coming to light on vinyl. The band’s love of DC hardcore, which they grew up on earlier in the decade, shows up in spades on this record—angular rhythms full of rests, followed by crashing drum beats, concise guitar lines screeching over gut-punching bass and strained vocals. From what I can find, they put out the Who Changed? 7” in 1988, contributed to a Flux Records 7” compilation in 1989, recorded the songs that appear on Samsara, and then disappeared. In looking for more on the band, I came across an interview on the Made You a Tape website with Ian MacKaye and Michael Honch, wherein they unearth the 1987 letter that Michael sent Ian, asking him to send tapes of DC bands he couldn’t find in Rochester. It’s an interesting read, and gives a lot of perspective on this record. I can’t find much on the other members, but Michael Honch played in some bands before and after HUNGER ARTIST, including NUNS ON DEATH ROW and POWERLINE in the ’80s and ’90s before taking a musical break, returning in 2011 with ALARMS & CONTROLS and currently NUMBERS STATION, a two-bass instrumental duo. Returning to focus: thank you, Rabbit Rabbit, for rescuing this one-off gem, what else is out there?