Released by Djam Karet's label Firepool Records, Conjure builds on the success of their first album. With guest musicians including Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Joel Adair (Legacy Brass Quintet) and looping samples by Steve Tibbetts, combined with their impeccable production, deep compositions, and impressive performances, Conjure is a real treat for fans of King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Mick Karn.
Conjure is a finely-crafted, landmark release. In order to create a more dynamic and lively sound, no compression or limiting was used on this recording. This sophomore effort features polyrhythmic Warr guitar and powerful drumming, classic keyboards by Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet). and beautiful guitar solos and textures. Songs such as Praxis brim with intense, fiery energy. The beautiful and calming Alice Krige pt.1 has dreamy flute and jazzy trumpet melodies, whereas Solitude One, with its Indian dilruba lines, has a more dance vibe. The album closes with the psychedelic lullaby, The Secret Of Fire, which completes this diverse yet coherent journey.
On Conjure the focus is very much on composition, arrangements and orchestration. Their music is not just a set-up for showy solos. Instead, they create music that is full of great ensemble playing and group dynamics. Herd Of Instinct has a clear vision of what they are trying to do. And, fortunately for us, on Conjure their goals are fully realized.
HERD OF INSTINCT release date: January 22, 2013
Published by Firepool Records.
Featuring 12 tracks. Total time: 53:13
Dead Leaf Echo 3:18
Brutality of Fact 3:17
Alice Krige pt.1 5:54
Solitude One 4:25
Mother Night 4:23
New Lands 4:12
A Sense of an Ending 5:30
The Secret of Fire 5:16
Jason Spradlin: drums and programming
Gayle Ellett: Moog, Mellotron, Hammond organ, Rhodes, and dilruba
Mike Davison: guitar, 12 string acoustic, and guitar synth
Mark Cook: Warr guitar, ADG fretless bass, guitar, and programming
Lisa Lazo: keyboards on track 5
Bob Fisher: flute on tracks 1 & 4
Colin Edwin: fretless bass on tracks 1 & 11
Joe Blair: lapsteel guitar on track 4
Joel Adair: trumpet on track 4
All tracks composed, arranged, and produced by Herd of Instinct
Mixed by Mark Cook
Track 5 composed by Lisa Lazo - mix translation by HOI
Recorded in Arlington, TX., Topanga, CA., and Colin Edwin recorded @ Nightspace, UK
Mastered by Gayle Ellett and Wayne Yentis
Art Layout by Mark Cook
Percussion samples from the Steve Tibbetts "Friendly Fire" sample library were used on tracks 8 and 11
Jason thanks: Dharma Spradlin
Gayle would like to thank:
Dave Streett for making all of this possible, Wayne Yentis, Chuck Oken jr and everyone in Djam Karet, Rita, Ben & Aria Ellett, and the members of HOI for asking me to join their great group.
Mike thanks: My family and friends, and thanks Sandi, I miss you!
Mark thanks: Gayle Ellett, Chuck Oken, Jr., Shannon Golenia, Dave Streett, Colin Edwin, Bob Fisher, Joel Adair, Joe Blair, Mike McGary, Lisa Lazo, Wayne Yentis, Tradition guitars, Warr guitars, and my family.
The Band thanks:
Raffaella Berry, Roger Trenwith, Assaf Vestin, Dutch Progressive Rock Page, Steven Barber, Nikola Savic , Thomas Gagliardi, Barry Cleveland, Burning Shed, Jason Kelly, J.G. Harding, Steve Aydt, Michael Ostrich, Siggy Zielinski, Nick Katona, Mark Hughes, Rene Yedema, Autopoietican, Vitaly Menshikov, Donato Zoppo, Stefano Fasti, Psychemusic, Matt Howarth, Alfredo Tapia-Carreto, Merlinprog, Fred Trafton, John O'Boyle, Rok Podgrajsek, Universum Noll
Here are some reviews of Herd Of Instinct's debut CD...
"Warr Guitarist Mark Cook, guitarist and guitar synthesist Mike Davison and drummer Jason Spradlin - joined by a bevy of talented guests including drummers Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), and Touch-guitarist Markus Reuter - serve up a heady melange of avant-prog spiced with dashes of ambient, symphonic, metallic, and world musics, and topped with a dollop of pop."
GUITAR PLAYER Magazine
"This Texan group defy classification very well, blending more melodic moments of industrial metal with forbidding electro-acoustic compositions. It's definitely progressive music, with plenty of layered guitar arpeggios in places, but there are also flutes and all manner of other instruments in the mix."
SOUND ON SOUND
"Herd of Instinct is one of those rare debut albums that are practically perfect in every respect, and need no suggestions for further improvement. An absolute must for fans of King Crimson, it will delight devotees of complex, hard-edged yet atmospheric prog, and those who are somewhat weary of technically competent bands that are sorely lacking in the originality department. A serious contender for best release of 2011."
"From start to finish this album is a wild ride on a rollercoaster of musical bliss, especially for listeners who like a bit of a challenge and even a puzzle. At times the music is reminiscent of 80s King Crimson, at times of 70s Crimson, then again of Djam Karet, the next moment they're playing metal, then psychedelic rock, jazz, Eastern music, ambient music. You can tell this album is incredibly tight and well constructed, but there's ample breathing space in between as well. The guys let the music breathe and give it a chance to take on a very dense and dark atmosphere at times. So, on one hand you have an album that's full of amazing developments and on the other an album that's full of intense build-ups and stirring atmospheres. This is definitely one to relish!"
"Intriguing and interesting are words that quickly spring to mind when listening to "Herd of Instinct's" eponymous album that has been four years in the making. The album features diversity in its compositional approach which is always a good sign, making it an album that you would re listen to on a regular basis. The album takes a King Crimson / Gordian Knot approach, being laced and layered with stunning guitar passages, copious amounts of warr guitar, a very provocative album. The whole soundstage is stunning as are the striking visual graphics. A real winner all round really."
SEA OF TRANQUILITY
"The strength of Herd Of Instinct lies in the built up group energy, which combines a lot of talents and visions with instrumentals of structural and a naturally built up architectural power. The first tracks build up more like symphonic progressive metal, then the complexity increases with improvised tension, and with interesting rhythmic changes and divisions. On the third track, "Road to Asheville" the mood suddenly changes to a more ethnic moody, atmospheric piece in the direction of some late Djam Karet, with flute, tablas and keyboard moods before returning to the heavier guitar and drums."
"Musically, the best point of reference is probably 90's Crimson, but there are also influences from the more modern, aggressive prog-metal sound and the indie sounds like the alt-metal of Tool, and even some brief flirtations with ambient music. But all these comparisons only get you into the ballpark. Herd of Instinct is all instrumental and has its own unique sound. This album is a gem, and it's a small wonder that Gayle Ellett chose it to be the first non-Djam Karet-related album on the Firepool label. Seek it out a definite keeper!"