Lark is a four-piece electronica band from South Africa based in Cape Town, who have been one of the key contributors to the rising Experimental and IDM crossover scene who have created a solid Grassroots following in South Africa, England and Germany through their EP Mouth of Me but have gained mainstream success through their debut Album Razbliuto.
In February 2008 Lark announced its break up due to its economic situation and the disrespect by the music business. A tragic end to one of the brightest shining gems in the South African talent pool, especially since the appeal and quality of their material made them one of the most highly export-able bands in South Africa's relatively new music run along bands like Seether and the more mellow toned Just Ginger.
Lark was originally started as Inge Beckmann's solo project which was produced by Paul Ressel (also known as The Humanizer). While recording they met Simon "Fuzzy" Ratcliffe, who was the sound engineer and session musician at Sound & Motion Studios
working on their recordings. While recording they asked Fuzzy to join the band. Lark then consisted out of Beckmann on vocals, Ressel on electronics (sequencers
, analog systems
) and Ratcliffe on bass (upright
) and woodwinds
. These sessions soon turned into the band's debut, Mouth of Me. They started gigging in April 2003.
The band won several awards including best South African alternative album. Despite its international success and loyal fanbase, the band was surprisingly not scheduled for Coke Fest 2008 in Johannesburg, which was considered the essential step to achieve international publicity.
Mouth of Me
After their first few gigs, they recruited popular session musician Sean Ou Tim on drums and entered Sound & Motion Studios
in Cape Town
, where they held the sessions for their first full-length album, Mouth of Me.
The album contained massively popular tracks including Tricksy and Moonlight which were accompanied by a stunningly produced music video for Moonlight. Introduction to the mainstream population was given a boost when the Moonlight video was added to the play list of MK89 ("Musiek Kanaal" on Satelight TV provider DSTV channel 89), where it was accepted with open arms due to the more demure tone of the track and it's visually stunning video.
After the success of Mouth Of Me, the group produced their second album named Razbliuto. Razbliuto was released in August 2006 to rave reviews from newspapers The Sunday Times
and the The Star
In April 2007, the album won a SAMA for "Best Alternative Album".
During the last quarter of 2007, Lark performed tracks from this album to a very excited crowd at the biggest event of the biannual Oppikoppi festival. Their performance was one of the biggest attractions and most celebrated of the 2007 event, leaving the overwhelmed crowds wanting more.
Lark's music, according to their MySpace page
, is influenced by artists such as Radiohead; Paul Ressel's MySpace page
once stated that he was initially a rock musician, but was exposed to electronic music through Radiohead's milestone album Kid A
. Lark may also be said to display a striking similarity to international groups such as Massive Attack and Portishead: firstly because both of these bands combine electronic sequencers with live instrumentation and sample manipulation (as Ressel states on his website
: "The one thing I have tried to put forward in all my music is a fusion between organic sounds/acoustic instruments and mechanical electronica/digital programming,") and secondly because both groups feature a female lead voice. The resulting sound is eclectic, drawing on the rock, Western classical, electronic, and world vernaculars - everything from electric guitar to harpsichord to Aphex Twin-esque snare rushes to Ratcliffe's duduk
. Classically-trained singer Beckmann (who previously worked with hip-hop group Spindle Sect) variously describes Lark's music as "alternative electro", "glitch opera", and "Nintendo-electro" on her MySpace page
: music production & instrumentation, electric guitar
Simon "Fuzzy" Ratcliffe
: upright bass, electric bass, flute, duduk
Sean Ou Tim
: drum kit (acoustic and electronic)