Insect Ark will celebrate the release of it debut full-length album, Portal/Well with a series of North American dates opening for Locrian. The new album is the result of one years’ work in composer/ multi-instrumentalist Dana Schechter’s Brooklyn studio. Exploring themes of corruption of the natural world and facing oblivion, Portal/Well continues the wordless existential narratives already established on 2013’s Long Arms EP and 2012’s “Collapsar” 7″ single. Autumnsongs Records will Portal/Well, on CD in June 9, 2015.
The new album has gotten some great press coverage to date:
Portal/Well is Insect Ark’s debut album, after a pair of 7”s and a stellar 2013 EP, Long Arms. But where Long Arms seemed constricted by its three-song runtime, Portal/Well sprawls. Performed entirely by Schechter, the album is built primarily out of programmed drums, synthesizers, radically effected lap steel guitar, and ominously monumental basslines. In that sense it’s more or less a bedroom recording project-only the bedroom involved is in the locked attic of a decaying mansion that’s cocooned with cobwebs and haunted by shadowy memories.
Jason Heller/Pitchfork.co 6/9
The latest album by artist Dana Schechter, best known for her work with Angels of Light, is garnering a lot of praise in indie circles and among the avant-garde crowd, and for good reason. Her atmospheric, minimalist, darkly cinematic instrumental pieces evoke everyone from Guapo, to Ennio Morricone, to Can, to Goblin. In turn, that dark, gothic element will appeal to a lot of metal fans, serving as a soundtrack to someone’s horrible nightmare. There’s not much to these compositions, which are bare-bones at best-drums, drones, and very prominent bass-but the unsettling power the tracks evoke is undeniable, and frankly a little frightening when heard alone in the middle of the night. Not that I was scared by it. No, not at all… stop asking me that.
Adrien Begrand/Popmatters.com 6/11
It’s an instrumental album with elements of ambient, doom and avant-garde. The songs ebb and flow from mellow soundscapes to trippy and experimental sections. There are some heavier parts as well. Those who are into instrumental music should enjoy this varied and challenging journey tinged with darkness and an occasional glimpse of light.
Chad Bowar/Heavymetal.About.com 6/11
Portal/Well finds its voice in the sound of elements burning and crushing into each other: in the haunting groans and swells of the lap steel guitar, the stalking bass, the insistent drum programming, and the deep oscillations of synthesizers. From this morass songs are born, deeply melodic, dense, austere, and wildly unhinged. Creating a personal soundtrack to the underbelly of the human psyche, Insect Ark weaves a brooding, textural landscape–a starless night spiked with light and flash. The music braids together delay-drenched lap steel, programmed and real drums, distorted bass, and synths to create a sonic mural both uncomfortably intimate and icy cold. To say that Portal/Well is a dark album would be a grave understatement – Insect Ark is often called “Experimental/Doom” – but there are moments infused with bright shards of light and respite to breathe clear air, before submerging the listener once again into a deep cavern of lustrous shadow.
Over the course of a year, Schechter wrote and recorded all these tracks alone, at all hours of the day and night. The album was built with careful attention to immaculate detail, but also takes chances, pushing beyond personal barriers. Without the external influence of collaborators, it is the product of a journey into composition and sonic exploration using a small but dynamic palette of instruments and a singular compositional voice.
Insect Ark began in late 2011, as the one-woman solo project of bassist and multi-instrumentalist Schechter. As an analog-electronic hybrid with a heavy focus on live performance, Insect Ark has been building a following in the experimental doom scene via consistent touring in the U.S. and abroad.
Dana Schechter, a California native, spent her teens in the San Francisco metal scene, where her love of heavy music gained its foothold. She moved to NYC in 1997; in 1999 she began working as a recording and touring bassist with Swans leader Michael Gira’s Angels of Light and she founded her own band, Bee and Flower, as well. In 2004 Bee and Flower relocated to Berlin, its new base for touring and recording.
By 2008 Schechter had finally found her way back to NYC. There, she formed Insect Ark as an effort to write and tour continuously without the complexities of a band and to reconnect with the darker, heavier, and more abstract sounds of her youth.
In 2015 Insect Ark gained a second member, drummer and electronics operator Ashley Spungin, who is known for her work with the Portland-based band Taurus. While Schechter appreciated the freedom of working alone, she ultimately decided that live drums would be a powerful addition to the project’s releases and shows. The new duo incarnation of Insect Ark will begin recording and touring in spring 2015.
Insect Ark Opening for Locrian
Fri 8/14 Bellingham, WA – The Shakedown
Sat 8/15 Seattle, WA – Highline
Sun 8/16 Boise, ID – Crazy Horse
Mon 8/17 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
Tue 8/18 Las Vegas, NV – Bunkhouse
Wed 8/19 Los Angeles, CA – Complex
Thur 8/20 San Francisco, CA – Elbo Room
Fri 8/21 Sacramento, CA – Starlight Lounge
Sat 8/22 Portland, OR – Panic Room
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