|Origin||Cape Town, South Africa|
|Years active||2003–2008, 2012-Present|
|Labels||Next Music, Just Music, UMG, Onion Records|
|Associated acts||The Humanizer, The Spindle Sect, Mr Sakitumi, BEAST,|
Lark is a four-piece electronica band from South Africa, based in Cape Town; they have been one of the key contributors to the rising Experimental and IDM crossover scene and created a solid grassroots following in South Africa, England and Germany through their EP Mouth of Me. They soon gained mainstream notoriety with their debut album Razbliuto in 2006.
2003-05: Formation, Mouth of Me EP and touring
Lark started as Inge Beckmann's solo project produced by, her close friend, Paul Ressel. During the initial recording sessions at Sound & Motion Studios they worked with, sound engineer and session bassist, Simon "Fuzzy" Ratcliffe - who shortly joined the project. These recordings turned into the band's debut EP Mouth of Me, followed by an extensive tour around South Africa.
During their successful tour, they recruited popular session drummer, Sean Ou Tim and entered Sound & Motion Studios in Cape Town to create their first full-length version of Razbliuto. The final line-up consisted of Beckmann on vocals, Ressel on electronics (sequencers, analog systems and laptop) and Ratcliffe on bass (upright, electric) and woodwinds; and Tim on drums.
2006-07: Razbliuto, Mouth Of Me and Mainstream Success
After the success of their Mouth Of Me EP, the group released their debut album Razbliuto in 2006. It was met with critical acclaim and won the award for Best Alternative Album at the 2007 South African Music Awards.
Along with an intensive touring schedule, the band managed to release a second album in 2007, Mouth of Me. It included reworked tracks off their EP and new material. The album contained two massively popular tracks Tricksy and Moonlight. They caught mainstream attention when the official music video for Moonlight was added to the playlist of a popular local rock music channel, MK89. Although it had a demure tone, it was widely accepted by the music press as "one of the most competitive acts to come out of South Africa."
2008: My Coke Fest incident and Hiatus
The stadium music festival, "My Coke Fest" - sponsored by Coca-Cola - included local acts alongside international bands in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The 2008 concert was headlined by alternative acts, Muse, Kaiser Chiefs and Korn. The festival was regarded as the stage for "international exposure", yet much to the surprise of fans Lark was not billed or considered for one the local slots. In an interview with the Cape Times, Paul Ressel said: "To sum it up: being the band that last year won the South African Music Award and hearing that two of the world's biggest bands in the 'alternative' category are coming here, bands who have been a massive influence on us, it would be the perfect stage for our music, and when we were pushed aside, not even seriously considered it was the straw that broke the camel's back. It's not like not getting one gig meant we decided to stop the band, but it was really the one thing that made it clear: after all that we've done, and this is where we get to. What's the point? And we didn't want to be a band that just disappeared and everyone had the rumours of the 'creative differences', so we wanted to explain what happened, and why."
Following the "My Coke Fest" snub, the band was invited to perform at the local rock festival RAMfest, which they later announced as their last performance. At the festival, the band released their live performance DVD Dagger and a Feather - filmed at Cape Town’s BMW Pavilion in June 2007. It featured guest artists Johnny de Ridder (Fokofpolisiekar), Kyla Rose Smith (Freshlyground) and a classical string section with VJ Grrrl on visuals. The DVD was described as the band's "most extravagant performance to date".
2012-present: Return and Gong Is Struck
In 2011, the band announced they had began work on a new album with Inge and Paul writing songs over Skype.
Their third album Gong Is Struck was released in July 2012, along with an extensive tour schedule. Inge described the album as "darker and more tribal than the previous releases yet comes with more hooks, is more structured, more confident and ultimately more decisive." It achieved moderate success amongst the fans, but was not well-received by critics. A critic at the Mail & Guardian noted the album's "failure to stake a claim for [a] continuing relevance in the South African music scene."
Although Paul still resides in London, the band still continues to appear at local music festivals.
According to their MySpace, they were namely influenced by Radiohead, Massive Attack and Portishead, because these bands combine electronic sequencers with live instrumentation, sample manipulation and female lead vocals. Paul stated on his own 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." Their 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 variously describes Lark's music as "alternative electro", "glitch opera", and "Nintendo-electro" on her MySpace.
Their efforts are recognised for introducing mainstream South African audience to alternative genres. Their sound paved the way for numerous electronic artists like Sibot, Spoek Mathambo, Tshe-Tsha Boys, Motel Mari, DJ Mujava, Dirty Paraffin and Die Antwoord to garner local success in their absence. In an interview, Inge said: "It has been good to see the local scene bloom. A lot of cool local acts have popped up over the years and this is very positive for our overall growth as a scene."
- Mouth of Me (EP) (2005)
- Razbliuto! (2006)
- Mouth of Me (2007)
- A Dagger and a Feather (Live DVD) (2008)
- V (EP) (2010)
- Gong Is Struck (2012)
- "3 Of The Best Bands". MusicJudge SA. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- "Diversity and excellence honoured at 13th Annual MTN SA Music Awards Gala Dinner". Music Org. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- "Lark Profile". The Assembly. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- Milton, Evan. "Lark Break Up: Forced Out of Love". What's On. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- Disco, Rick. "Lark "Brave Tour" 2009!". Electro Trash. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- "Lark releases harder, more intense album and announces national tour". BizCommunity. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- Gedye, Lloyd (21 Nov 2012). "Lark: Sticking to a basic formula". Mail and Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- "Lark Interview & New Album Details". LWMag. LWMag. Retrieved 5 September 2015.