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INSECT ARK - Marrow Hymns

As usual one month before Roadburn, while planning my personal running order as good as I can, my excitement for the dutch festival begins to grow immensely. And also as usual my discovery of new artists already begins way before the actual event, when the participating bands are announced.

This year an instrumental duo from the US has sparked my particular attention:

INSECT ARK - Marrow Hymns (clear LP) (2018)

Insect Ark began as a solo project by bassist Dana Schechter, whose previous work inludes two albums with Michael Gira's Angels Of Light, but has since grown to a two-piece with the involvement of drummer Ashley Spungin.

With Schechter also playing lap steel guitar and both members sharing synth duties, the best label for the band's music is probably the one they are using themselves, psychedelic doom.

One thing is certain already by now: Combined with the fabulous cover artwork and the knowledge that this album is released on Profound Lore, it's extremely likely that this must be good.

And it is good. Profound lore indeed!

Insect Ark are a highly experimental group, but they are very much aware of the nature of the experiment and manage to present it a a quite excessible way, which renownedly isn't necessarily a given when it comes to somehow advantgardistic music.

This excessibility mainly originates from the lap steel guitar. While being a prominent trademark of the monolithic Swans, its delivery by Schechter bears a lot more similarity to the cool and calming western style guitar work of Earth's Dylan Carlson, a notion also backed up by the way some of Insect Ark's compositions are structured.

Over a backdrop of ambient and psychedelic rock sounds, from minimalistic drone moments to its most vivid outbursts of dynamic drumming or sometimes even godfleshy grooving and snarling bass lines, the music of Insect Ark always finds the right balance between being lively and sparse.

The field amidst those poles gives plenty of room for the listener's imagination. On top of that every track on "Marrow Hymns" has its own distinct character, so the album really provides ideal conditions to take you on a new journey each time you give it a spin.

My advice: Just sit back and trust your two guides from the doom travel agency! I promise, you won't regret the trip. 

Highlights: Slow Ray, Windless, In The Nest, Arp 9

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