Insect Ark Premiere “The Collector” from Portal/Well

insect ark

Insect Ark‘s debut album, Portal/Well, is the kind of record that, when it’s over, makes you notice sounds around you that you might otherwise have missed. Birds somewhere across a yard. A car driving past. People talking in the distance. Running water. The nuance that drives Portal/Well — out June 8 on Autumnsongs Records — seems to bleed into the real world, the atmospheres and foreboding rumble captured by bassist/programmer/lap steel guitarist Dana Schechter (ex-Angels of Light, Bee and Flower) playing out in ethereal drones, volume swells and an at times crushing ambience.

Whether it’s a steady roller like the opening title-track, which seems to cast out guitar chords and feedback hum over a kind of slower-Godflesh beat, or the cinematic soundscaping of the later “Parallel Twin” and its minimalist counterpart, the closer “Low Moon,” Portal/Well retains a central focus on ambience. Since its recording, Schechter has brought West Coast-based drummer Ashley Spungin (Taurus) into the lineup, making what was once a solo-project into a duo, but the album carries across its solitary insect-ark-portal-wellspirit in a lonely undercurrent of malevolence, as though something is just around the next corner of “Octavia,” or the horror-style synth work of “The Collector,” waiting to be bumped into in the dark. “The Collector” also arguably boasts Portal/Well‘s most fervent crash, setting up the droning spaciousness of “Lowlands” and “Octavia”‘s encompassing, doomed push.

An entirely instrumental 42 minutes, there’s plenty of Insect Ark‘s dense ambience to get lost in, but even though she’s working here by herself, Schechter dynamically plays minimal spaces off sonic fullness and heft, and the result across Portal/Well‘s span is an album that’s tense at times but never fails to bring the listener along its periodically grueling path. The fluidity with which Schechter constructs layers one on top of the other and the natural ease with which the mix presents them allow even more for someone taking it on to be consumed by its diverse approach and consistent and pervasive gloom.

I’m thrilled today to host the churning “The Collector” for streaming ahead of the June 8 album release. More background on the record follows the song, which you can find on the player below and which I hope you enjoy:

Insect Ark’s debut full-length album, Portal/Well 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 on June 8, 2015.

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’s website

Insect Ark on Thee Facebooks

Autumnsongs Records

Tags: , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Insect Ark Premiere “The Collector” from Portal/Well

  1. Ricardo says:

    Angels of Light-working with Mr. Swans-Michael Gira. That is nice and this track is very enticing.

  2. […] is always worth owning. If you want more info on this, one of the few reliably good music blogs, The Obelisk did a good piece on the […]

  3. MickyC says:

    Was referred to your website by the New York Music Daily site and am enjoying it immensely. Thanks for covering some of the more obscure yet still listenable heavy tunes out there.

Leave a Reply