PopMatters is currently streaming Future Fossils, the latest EP from INSECT ARK, in its haunting entirety! The premiere comes in advance of the EP’s release this Friday, September 24th via Consouling Sounds.
INSECT ARK is the long-running exploratory endeavor led by Dana Schechter and Future Fossils is the first step in a continuing revisitation of Schechter’s solo work. Side A features three all-synthesizer compositions by Schechter: “Gypsum Blade,” “Oral Thrush,” and “Anopsian Volta.” Notably absent on these three “synth” songs are two of Schechter’s “main” instruments: lap steel guitar and bass guitar. But their omission is not a new direction, as much as an alternate facet and an exercise in the spirit of stark minimalism, as INSECT ARK continually grows and metamorphosizes.
The album’s B Side, “Gravitrons,” a live noise improv set, was performed at a converted church in Brooklyn in 2016, with Schechter on lap steel/synths, and former collaborator Ashley Spungin on synths/percussion. This performance was a one-off instance; the two musicians were not accustomed to improvisations together, normally performing in the “band” duo format of bass, lap steel, drums, and synths.
Writes PopMatters of the EP, “Instead of the solid rock form that INSECT ARK possessed, here the armor has been stripped away, exposing the underlying core. This is a journey to the land of the ambient and the minimal. Future Fossils lingers in the ethereal domain, expanding in a cinematic fashion. Through its passages, elements of improvisation and dark ambient combine to create this fascinating realm. While in many ways, Future Fossils is a departure from the sound we have come to know from Insect Ark, it still radiates with the act’s unique perspective. Hallucinatory and otherworldly, but still potent and condensed, it is a meditative trip for the dark side of the mind.”
With two more new albums on the immediate horizon – a new full-length “duo/band” LP as well as another of all-solo-synth material – Schechter’s musical output as INSECT ARK has once again proven to defy genres, resist trends, and thwart expectations, leaving us all guessing to where she will traverse next.
In conjunction with the release of Future Fossils, Schechter will embark on a weeklong stretch of European performances including an appearance at Consouling Sounds’ 24 Hours Of Deep Listening Festival October 1st. See all confirmed dates below.
INSECT ARK (solo):
9/25/2021 Hatumoa Tattoo Studio – Tábor, CZ
9/26/2021 Soulkostel – Vernéřovice, CZ
9/27/2021 Underdogs – Prague, CZ
9/29/2021 Cafe Central – Brussels, BE
9/30/2021 La Malterie – Lille, FR
10/01/2021 Consouling Sounds 24 Hours of Deep Listening Festival – Ghent, BE
10/23/2021 Borsig Amp Fest @ Kesselhaus Herzberge – Berlin, DE
9/29/2021 Volkstheater Rote Bar / Peter Cat’s – Vienna, AT
When Dana Schechter started INSECT ARK as her “true” solo project in 2012, she set out to build desolate and hallucinogenic galaxies of sound entirely on her own. Writing and playing solo offered an escape into the deepest realms of self-reflection, dredging and birthing a hitherto sonic beast that was, it turns out, utterly unhinged and totally liberating. Focusing on experimental, drone, noise, and avant-garde noise, INSECT ARK’s first years produced records that were raw, ominous, and totally unique. While defying comparison, these new sounds possessed Schechter’s distinct musical spirit, woven throughout her twenty-plus years of band/collaboration work.
After three releases (2012’s Collapsar 7”, 2013’s Long Arms 10”, 2015’s Portal/Well LP), INSECT ARK added live drums to the mix, and the resulting albums — 2018’s Marrow Hymns (with drummer Ashley Spungin) and 2020’s The Vanishing (with drummer Andy Patterson) — showed that her singular vision could also expand into heavier and more crushing territory within a collaborative space. The power that live drums brought to INSECT ARK helped gather a new fanbase in the heavy-music world, adding another layer to the band’s palette. Now, after nine years of existence, INSECT ARK has come full circle to once again embrace solo work on 2021’s Future Fossils.
Future Fossils EP recording info: “Oral Thrush,” “Gypsum Blade,” and “Anopsian Volta” were recorded and performed by Dana Schechter at EMS Studios in Stockholm, Picasso Machinery in Brooklyn, and D. Diamante in Berlin between 2018-2021 and mixed by Simon Goff at Hiddenseer Studios in Berlin, June 2021. “Gravitrons//Live Improv,” was written and performed by Schechter and Ashley Spungin and recorded and mixed by Josh Wertheimer in Brooklyn in November 2016. The EP was mastered by James Plotkin.
“It’s quite a feat to play within an unlimited space, yet make the listener feel enclosed and small, even threatened and uneasy. Pulsating hums burrow into your head and each synth scream pierces the ear in slow-motion, all while subjected to an unpredictable and busy array of moans that provide a keen sense of texture…” – Everything Is Noise on “Oral Thrush”
“…a truly eerie dose of dark ambient music that sounds like it could score a David Lynch film.” – BrooklynVegan
“…a dark and oftentimes challenging listen. It’s a record that isn’t intent on going anywhere fast. Instead, it’s focused more on being in the moment, appreciating the dark ambient groundswell and letting listeners be enamored with the brooding darkness that has come to define so much of INSECT ARK’s music.” – Two Guys Metal Reviews
“…one of the underrated artists of our time.” – Veil Of Sound