Insect Ark - The Vanishing review




Bandcamp music player
Reviewer:
8.0

6 users:
7.17
Band: Insect Ark
Album: The Vanishing
Release date: February 2020


01. Tectonic
02. Three Gates
03. Philae
04. Danube
05. Swollen Sun
06. The Vanishing


Yes, groovy drone albums do exist, thank you very much!

Quick what do Swans, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Angels Of Light, Bee And Flower and lastly Insect Ark have in common? If you answered either "boring music that drags on forever" or "fantastic transcendental slow building music", you're close, but the answer is Dana Schechter's guitars, whether the lap steel guitar or the bass one (yes, bass guitars count as guitars too). She was mostly either a live member of a contributor in most of the aforementioned ones, but it is Insect Ark that finds itself being her main output, and for the longest while until recently having her alongside Ashley Spungin. The Vanishing finds the project with Andy Patterson, formerly of SubRosa, behind the kit. So other than it sounding somewhat akin to the name-dropped bands, what is there to The Vanishing's music?

I did call it groovy and droney, and this is a combination that is quite hard to achieve, especially with purely instrumental music. And especially being just a duo. I can't really wrap my head around how exactly most of these could be played live or be recorded live, considering that even though the drums and one guitar are always at the forefront, there's always a bit of a shift between the guitars, and there's some subtle synths in the background as well, but there are plenty of moments when they take the forefront as well. So listening to this, I can't help but imagine them multitasking to play all these instruments, but this often feels so layered despite never being maximalist about it. It always builds on just enough sounds to be all encompassing.

One can easily tell that both members' expertise with tangential but distinct sounds of the heavy and slow melds extraordinarily well. The music has a slight cinematic sense to it, probably courtesy of Dana's experience as a film composer, but also a very slow-building dread to it. Andy's drumming does instead give it a heavier more dynamic edge, that is only reinforced by the waves of guitar noise, and it makes the throbbing bass feel even more powerful. It's like both these elements are playing into each other's strengths. There are moments where either the drums of the rest of the instruments get their moments without the other (mostly the latter) to keep things interesting, but for the most part, the combination of the two has a somewhat slightly western post-apocalyptic vibe. Like a Sleep album about a nuclear wasteland in which every weed strain is extinct. That, but with a lap steel guitar.

And neither of the four instruments feels underdeveloped or underused, making this album so much more than the sum of its parts. There are parts of this album where I feel I would be doing it more justice by naming films it sounds like rather than bands, the synths especially giving me some Cosmatos vibes (and honestly the synths are the best thing about his movies anyway). Not a lot of albums can really paint a picture the way this does.



 



Written on 22.05.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 52 users
23.05.2020 - 05:09
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Never listened to this one before but it sounds like my kinda jam, so I'll get on it soon!

Dana actually just came up on my "people you may know" on Facebook earlier today, funny enough. We have like 6 mutuals
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23.05.2020 - 09:49
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Apothecary on 23.05.2020 at 05:09

Never listened to this one before but it sounds like my kinda jam, so I'll get on it soon!

Dana actually just came up on my "people you may know" on Facebook earlier today, funny enough. We have like 6 mutuals

Go for it
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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23.05.2020 - 21:55
nikarg
Mod
Drone generally bores me, but this is indeed cinematic and groovy as you say. Pretty good late night listen.

Quote:
Like a Sleep album about a nuclear wasteland in which every weed strain is extinct.


Sleep without weed is unbearable.
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23.05.2020 - 23:03
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 23.05.2020 at 21:55

Drone generally bores me, but this is indeed cinematic and groovy as you say. Pretty good late night listen.

Quote:
Like a Sleep album about a nuclear wasteland in which every weed strain is extinct.


Sleep without weed is unbearable.

I saw them performing Sleep's Holy Mountain and half of Dopesmoker sober. I am two power levels above you.
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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30.05.2020 - 16:45
Witchslayer
Never listened to drone before. Sounds interesting, well worth the time and effort.

Btw a nice review.
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Avantgarde / Oriental Black; Psychedelic / Stoner; Post / Sludge; Djent / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Ambient / Ambient Techno
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30.05.2020 - 16:50
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Witchslayer on 30.05.2020 at 16:45

Never listened to drone before. Sounds interesting, well worth the time and effort.

Btw a nice review.

Drone is indeed a very difficult genre to get into. May I recommend this list
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
Loading...
31.05.2020 - 11:51
Witchslayer
Written by RaduP on 30.05.2020 at 16:50

Written by Witchslayer on 30.05.2020 at 16:45

Never listened to drone before. Sounds interesting, well worth the time and effort.

Btw a nice review.

Drone is indeed a very difficult genre to get into. May I recommend this list


Thanks a lot. Will 'work' my way through over the time.
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Avantgarde / Oriental Black; Psychedelic / Stoner; Post / Sludge; Djent / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Ambient / Ambient Techno
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