“Long Arms,” the A-side and title track of the latest by Insect Ark, shows the strong influence of M. Gira on Dana Schechter (Bee and Flower) from her tenure with Angels of Light. From the controlled sequencing of early Industrial, the tribalism of a fully-orchestrated rock jam, and the bold rendering in minor keys, the track swells with malevolence like the hordes of Blood Meridian, neither dead in reason nor alive in emotion; palette knife sweeps of sound portray motion, lapsteel tones impart dread and grandeur, and a center-piece of percussion to convey brutal deliberation. The track further demonstrates the studiousness of its creator: Schechter’s solo work has appeared just once before, also on short-format vinyl, and she seems more than willing to preserve her aesthetic statements at a minimum. Even the B-sides, “Lift Off” and “Symbols” serve more as sketches for the single than as opportunities to triangulate range: while fully-realized in each of their elements, these tracks seem to emphasize different dynamics within the constellation of elements. Ascending tones collide with percussive bursts, producing new trajectories; sleighbell programming crimps the tail of the steel-stringed howl, producing a deep complaint in the bass. The sense of composition is never lost, even when clearings are made to highlight micro-interactions. ‘Long Arms’ is as much educational as it is aesthetic. The wager is risky: while the ultimate effect clashes with the traditional function of the short-format disc – without a hook, the EP can fail to provoke its operator – the invested and literate student will find a rich, provocative experience worth repeated listens. The 10” vinyl comes in a beautiful, screened envelope, doing justice to just what a special piece of recording this is. Recommended.
Geweih Ritual Documents 10”