Magik Marker – Balf Quarry


“Oh, Magik Markers — you dirty fuckers! You look like a reasonably intelligent young woman and man — perhaps a bit intense, but who isn’t in these end times? Then the needle drops and you’re amok, dusting us from the git-go, wild-eyed in a china shop where stop keeps meaning more. Ah, if it were only music — but it would appear you’ve rethought that too. And would it kill you to crack a smile? When an album begins with a song called ‘Risperdal,’ one should assume a mind-and-body-slamming forty-five minutes or so are underway. And ‘one’ wouldn’t be wrong, dickhead. Sure, Balf Quarry has moody space in its soul, melodies whether stretched over rock, ululating rhythm, chimes ‘n piano and/or wah-wah. Regardless of the configuration, Elisa Ambrogio and Pete Nolan are locked together, beating it out, listening to feeling the sound of their earth quake. And slicing through all the atmosphere, Elisa’s voice is a spear of light, splashes of mud, an acid purple flashback. The Balf Quarry libretto reads like an inner monologue of some poor bastard from The Stand: desperate and vengeful musings from the head of a witness to and survivor of an apocalypse, in a world they never made, dreaming helplessly of the demons out west. ‘Safe before their life sets in’ might mean hope in this landscape. The world’s not broken — people ruin it every time. Working with engineer Scott Colburn (Sun City Girls, Animal Collective, Sir Richard Bishop), Magik Markers have captured a lot of different moods and twitches on Balf Quarry. Tremoring mid-rhythms form the body, with a couple showers of hardcore, high flying free-duo style and several clinking music boxes of woe as well. On slower tunes, the mass of brooding guitar tone generated is Elisa’s signature, a carving all of her own. Fills, licks and other touches move the songs a broken arm’s length away from a fundament of chaos and horror. When colors actually match and you have grey music for grey days, it’s great — but what about grey music for cherry red lava days, or rainbow sounds arcing over six months of darkness? Anything goes — and just your luck, Magik Markers have brought anything with them on Balf Quarry — a multicolored projectile of vomit you can sing along to! If psychosis is your thing, Balf Quarry is like a jukebox just for you. The only thing it’s missing is a brick attached to the CD to facilitate throwing it through your window! No, we’re not talking about you, asshole. This is the royal ‘you’ — the ‘you’ of all Magik Markers fandom, the ‘you’ of anyone with ears and the guts for this shit. Wot fun! Prepare for the birth of the second sun, y’all.”