CD Review: Lark, “Gong is Struck”

Written by Dee Theart (@deetheart)

LARK – a local electronic group that is known for their absolutely eccentric and unconventional style of doing things. It took five years to release their third full-length studio album, ‘Gong is Struck’. Not even the distance between two continents could stand in their way to deliver another quality album. Amazingly enough all the pre-production and guide vocals for the album were done via emails and Skype, as Paul Rez (vocalist Inge Beckmann’s genius composer partner) currently resides in London. As usual LARK executed everything with the finest precision and perfectionism. 

Lark by Gabrielle Guy

The album’s title was inspired by a quotation in a book on spiritualism. From the first track, the instrumental ‘Long Mantra’, it is clear than the mythical reigns on this album. LARK’s sound has developed rather extensively, moving to a heavier, tribal-inspired musical mayhem. Even the seemingly ‘lighter’ songs have a daunting undertone. Themes explored in the album’s sound, atmosphere and textures include mythology, immortality, war and superstition. The eeriness which has become synonymous with LARK, is taken to an entire new level.

Listening to ‘Gong is Struck’ in its entirety, you could easily imagine yourself in a sacred forest where supernatural creatures malignantly roam around. There are talks of the moon, wolves and Zeus in the tracks. The beats are aggressively fired up and the melodies magically obscure. Their rendition of the famous Shaka Zulu theme song, ‘We Are Growing’ by Margaret Zingana, is mesmerisingly intriguing and fits in perfectly with the tribal vibe. LARK’s version is unique without taking anything away from the original classic.

Beckmann’s vocal abilities never disappoint and this album is no exception. She has proven that her expansive range allows her to do pretty much anything – from manly reverberations to angelic drones and everything in between. On ‘Gong is Struck’, she explores different characters to an even greater extent. She demands respect on every track – sometimes commanding it, occasionally begging for it and other times yearning for it. But always getting it in the end.

Lark by Gabrielle Guy

The production on this album is clean-cut, as we have come to know and appreciate LARK. Paul has cleverly placed every electronic sweep and glitch exactly where it ought to be. Contributing greatly to the tribal feel, Fuzzy has done wonders with the bass and Mr Sakitumi with the drumming.

Ultimately, this album is bound to take you on a journey – not only a musical journey but also a very deep-rooted personal journey. You can’t simply listen to ‘Gong is Struck’ – you taste, breath, smell and touch it – the full sensory experience.  The gong is struck … so let the voyage commence.

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