Fronted by diva-of-dark, Inge Beckmann, the glitch-inspired electro-operatic outfit Lark return with a new cross-continental album.
*This article by Evan Milton first appeared in the Cape Argus “Good Weekend” of 2012/ 07/22
Lark: Inge Beckmann and Paul Ressel are back
Lark stormed onto the South African music scene in 2003, the cable-cradled lovechild of Inge Beckmann, operatically trained and hip hop tested vocalist, and Paul “Humanizer” Ressel, producer, DJ and guitarist. They recruited multi-instrumentalists Simon “Fuzzy” Ratcliffe on bass and as studio engineer extraordinaire, and Shaun “Mr Sakitumi” Ou Tim on drums. The densely layered and delectably dark “Razbliuto” followed in 2007, winning “Best Alternative Album” SAMA. Then came “Dagger and a Feather”, a live DVD recorded with full string section, and a second album, “Mouth of Me”.
In 2008, Ressel relocated to the UK to work as a producer, with Lark returning in 2010 to headline RAMfest and release “V”. 2011 saw Beckmann and Ressel creating songs for a new album, sending collaborative ideas across the sea. Now, “Gong Is Struck” is ready for release. Never easy to categorise, and ever full of surprises, the album is spearheaded by “We Are Growing”, Lark’s dark, electro-tribal take on the theme tune to the 1986 TV-epic “Shaka Zulu”.
“I always loved the way little Margaret Singana made such a powerful song,” says the statuesque Beckmann. “Lark has never covered a song, and I YouTubed it to Paul. He loved it, so we just went for it. I created different vocal characters. It was a very emotional recording because it’s so powerful – and I think we’ve given it a nice twist.”
Creating “Gong Is Struck” across countries was both exhilarating and frustrating. “Paul and I were both starved to write new material, so it started out romantically – but the process of working without ever being in the same room was frustrating,” says Beckmann. “I had to redo the vocals and I’m not fond of recording studios – I like that initial take: coming up with ideas; getting them down right away. It was a bittersweet process; it took two years, but there was merit in it taking so long – if it hadn’t, we wouldn’t have had certain songs. Also, in the meantime, Shaun and I did Lark Electro, a two-piece doing the back catalogue, and we nailed it. It was voted ‘Best Act’ at Splashy Fen 2012.”
Besides Lark, Ressel has his Vavavultures and production projects. Beckmann collaborates with the likes of Markus Wormstorm, Closet Snare, Adriaan Brand and Marko Petrovksi and, most recently, with the dual-bass powered Beast, a local super-project that features members of Cape Town bands Taxi Violence and The Plastics. “Paul keeps his production very separate and, for me, Beast is the polar opposite to Lark. It’s very in the moment, drawing on ’70s rock and grunge. Lark is very polished; very produced, epic and classical. It’s in a league of its own, and it’s something that is very precious to us. It’s not only about looking after a project, but also about looking after a friendship.”
Lark launch “Gong Is Struck”, playing as a full band on Friday 27 July at Trinity
(9pm) before launches in Pretoria
(28 July, Arcade Empire), Stellenbosch
(3 August, Klein Libertas) andDurban
(4 August, The Venue). Tickets R50 from WebTickets.co.za. More on LarkOfficial.co.za and Facebook.com/LarkOfficial.*This article by Evan Milton first appeared in the Cape Argus “Good Weekend” of 2012/ 07/22