posted July 3rd, 2020

The twee 2010s weren't for the Magik Markers! Markers only appear in times of duress. They heard you needed them and they came back: "Isolated From Exterior Time 2020."

This ALL-NEW four song digital EP brings back fan favorites Shaw, Pete and Elisa in a re-invigorated franchise, going for broke in the only way they know how: MARKER STYLE. A mood of prog-doom so piercing as to be Crimsonian! As in King? Maybe King Chrome-son? Tunes circle within charred circles, melodies echoing among the darkening shades of Ash Ra Temple-style good times. You can hear that in the years since the time we last heard Magik Markers, they have grown and maybe learned:

- John Shaw's recent foray into beekeeping is evident all over the record, his buzzing-pulsing-arial bass a pollinator, a slow motion wing flap dusting his Vermont longhair vibe on everything.

Pete Nolan got his Master's Degree in special education, and you can tell, cuz he is giving us a special education in space-time command, playing beats so human they have feelings and have learned to love.

Elisa Ambrogio, now far from her roots as a piece of gum stuck in a dodge minivan cup holder, is a member of the landed gentry and has taken to tilling the soil of the American West. On this EP we find Ambrogio's guitar tall and larger than life, like they grow them out west. Words are more specific, like a field guide that keeps you from eating poison berries.

From Black Dirt Studio sessions with the mighty Jason Meagher comes that parvenu sound, the sense of an interloper who does not quite belong. Oh sure, you might say: bees, tilling the land and master's degrees, all well and good - but do they rock? My friend, these Magik ones never had the well-turned heels and precious 'tuning pedals' so many bands set their stock with; they were animals. Animals learn. Animals adapt. Animals develop an economy of means. Animals rarely lie, and here, "Isolated From Time 2020," Magik Markers ARE those animals. It was rumored Johnny Weismueller's Tarzan scream was a studio creation, a pretend reflection of a wild scream generated from mixing the sounds of a hyena, a violin note, the growl of a dog and the bleat of a camel. Even a call meant to be a distillation of wild nature was winnowed and manipulated. 

Here Markers explore that windy divide between animal yawp and digital alarm clock, the hiking trail under buzzing power lines. You hear this on "Machine," human music indeed - a real danceable tune for one person with headphones in an empty room. Oo Oo! Someone's been riffing since last we met! Windows, mirrors, 3D printers, objects and images generating and trapping reflections, endless facsimiles repeat into these songs. In "Arms to the Sky," the low valley of the Ohio River traps exhaust and pollen and the sound of cable news at your dad's house. Here the feeling of escape is the one that Charlotte Perkins Gilman touches on in The Yellow Wallpaper - to escape the pattern by becoming the pattern. 

If Lomax was still traveling the country looking for local singers, this EP could be a field recording - the new blues! A child's garden, traversed with guitar, static and delay-wacked vocals. Magic in the air, filed right next to Magik. An amazing free dirge billowing into full-fi brilliance, as well as the encroaching darkness, amid the flickering of torches, lighters and cellphones. If you haven't already surrendered to the fantasy of Magik Markers, now's the time! Listen above!

Artists in this story: Magik Markers