If ambient music had a volume button that one can twist the dial on repeatedly, it might sound something like what New York City trio BARK has created on the eruditely feverish sound collage mastered on their forthcoming Relics LP. But wait, there are vocals, cinema side effects, and a barrage of the unexpected- think The Residents meet TV on the Radio meet Portishead.
Alessio Casalini, Alexey Artemov, and Marc Potts have crafted a work where crystalline production allows their ragged textural accents and punishing breaks to seethe with post-millennial paranoia. As Casalini puts it, “with every record we try to push our lyrical and musical experimentation further.”
Glide is thrilled to premiere Relics in full this Tuesday, a fully realized artistic representation of the “now” side of BARK. Take a turn through its seven mysterious chapters or songs if you will….
BARK came to life in New York, New York when, in a string of coincidences, the members all relocated there around the same time. Casalini from Italy, Artemov from Ukraine, and Potts from Georgia. Out of all places, in a way the band met through Craigslist. Casalini was working on an industrial project at that time, and they were looking for a drummer. They posted a listing, and at just that moment Artemov was settling into his new home and looking for someone to make music with. The two have been working together since. One afternoon, Casalini sitting in the lobby of his studio building in Manhattan, when he heard a compelling voice coming from one of the practice rooms. It turned out to be Potts, teaching a class and singing a to a group of kids. It was an instant match.
In 2016 BARK release their self-titled debut EP, a collaborative effort featuring various singer-songwriters, talented musicians and composers. This was followed by a pair of singles: “The Liar (feat. Aidan Flores-Hall)” in 2017, and “Cold and Silent (feat. Krystal Hawes)” in 2018. The “Cold and Silent” Remix EP was released in April 2018, a collaboration with Italian electronic project Okland and producer Loris Massera. “Gridlines (feat. Melinda Camille)” was released in May 2018, with a music video that December. “Medicate (feat. Marcus Potts & Melinda Camille)” was released in December 2018 as well. The band started off 2019 with a West Coast tour with Justin Symbol and DJ Swamp. The band released the “Live in San Francisco 2019” LP in August of that year. BARK closed the year out touring Eastern Europe. When the pandemic shut down touring the band quickly arranged for several online streaming performances.
Relics was written collaboratively, with Casalini and Artemov crafting the initial structure of a song. Potts comes in with some ideas for lyrics, and from there they compose, edit and develop the narrative and shape of the song. Sonically there are no self-imposed limits; BARK is founded on experimentation and they follow the musical idea where it leads, regardless of genres and restrictions. Lyrically, while each track has its own unique identity, there is a particular narrative to Relics. “There’s a thread of dualism juxtaposed as mutually inclusive in opposition to the norm of isolated polar opposites” explains Potts. “The songs try to tell a story of day-to-day reality.”
Relics was produced, recorded and mixed at the legendary Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan. Unlike the previous releases, the only performers and composers on Relics are Casalini, Artemov and the multi-instrumentalist Potts. The record is kaleidoscope of moods, thoughts, and feelings; sometimes conflicted and contradictory, but undeniably honest. Listeners that indulge the record’s aural eccentricities in full might just “gain access to perhaps another side of their intrinsic self”, says the band, “a side that perhaps wasn’t known before.”