Beggars features Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie, both from Buzz or Howl and Maquiladora, along with non-San Diegan Glen Donaldson of the Skygreen Leopards. Their debut self-titled 2-CD set, released in early 2013, was recorded over four three-day sessions in Ocean Beach, in the Upper Chamber of the High Mountain Tempel Oceanic Lodge, and on Mt. Washington in L.A.
The Beggars project is the 18th release of the duo's local label Lotushouse, which followup up with a disc from U.K. duo Raagnagrok and a collaboration between Nielsen and McKenzie’s other band Maquiladora and Japanese pop stars Tenniscoats.
It’s not their first Asian-acid team-up. Beggars make drone-drenched and adventurous noise that hews closer to Japanese psych acts like Hiroshi Hasegawa (aka Astro), Acid Mothers Temple, and genre-bending industrial electrofreaks dating back to the Stones' age such as Kraftwerk, Planet Gong, Can, Tangerine Dream, and -- lest one start melting too deep into mellow -- the Residents, Art of Noise, and Devo.
“The key components of psych-noise are freedom of volume and composition,” explains Nielsen. “It’s an emotive attack on your whole body with volume, so loud that it’s not uncommon to have an out-of-body experience in a swirling cloud of intense volume.”
“Once in western Japan, I was at a show that was so loud I had to lift my shoulders to my ears. I was in terrible pain, but it was impolite to get up and leave. After about fifteen minutes, I completely forgot about the music, relaxed, and went into a deep contemplation. I awoke sometime later to be aware of the sound and sights and was amazed I had experienced this vision triggered by this improbable sound.”
The Beggars album includes Steven R. Smith (Thujua and Ulaan Khol) guesting on three tracks.
“He plays electric piano, bass, and a bowed homemade electric thing,” says Nielsen. Both Smith and the duo's Beggars partner Glen Donaldson previously guested on an album by Nielsen and McKenzie's mystic-pop trio Maquiladora, Wirikuta.