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DARK

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Multi-National


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Dark biography
Dark was short-lived multinational jazz fusion band, led by percussionist Mark Nauseef. Band released just two studio albums in late 80-s, quite different between each other in musicians line-up and music contained. Both albums were released on German CMP label.

Debut self titled album, released in 1986, contains jazz fusion, heavily based on ethnic percussion and polyrythms. Besides of Mark Nauseef, there participated bassist Mark London Sims and vocalist Catharine Guard on this release.

Second release, Tamna Voda, contains no vocals, but there participated guitarist Miroslav Tadic, same bassist as on their debut and David Torn and L. Shankar guest on several tracks. This album is influenced by world fusion as well, but main accent is made on high energy musicianship.

Nauseef and Tadic later teamed up with keyboardist Joachim Kuhn and bassist Tony Newton release fusion Let's be Generous album (1991, also on CMP


Slava (Snobb)

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DARK discography


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DARK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 9 ratings
Dark
1986
4.81 | 14 ratings
Tamna Voda
1988

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DARK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dark by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.53 | 9 ratings

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Dark
Dark Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I realize that saying this album is a top 10 for me for 1986 isn't saying much, I mean it's 1986 but man I love the style of music this band puts out. They only released two albums but the second one I awarded 5 stars to and this one is very solid indeed. A dark album with tons of percussion sounds, bass driven, lots of experimental synths and on top of it all those amazing female vocal melodies. Very much a World Music flavour as we get some exotic sounds including some from Ghana and southern India. Mark Nauseef is the leader and an expert with percussion while Mark London Smith really drives this album with his bass work. No guitar here but this is one of those experimental and adventerous albums that some on this site would enjoy.

"Du Reptile" is the highlight for me. It starts slow with percussion only as some ethnic sounds join in. We get a synth melody after 2 1/2 minutes and more but it's when that heavy beat joins in after 3 minutes that I'm so into this. It fades to silence 5 minutes in but after 10 seconds or so it kicks back in even louder than before. Incredible! "Even Darker" is dark of course with drums, percussion and bass as synths join in then vocal melodies. A real World Music feel here with her vocal expressions.

"Happy Day Slash Hate Slash Tatum" opens with bass, percussion and vocal melodies. Again it's quite dark and I love that bass as this one trips along. Some crazy synths here too especially over the last few minutes. "Him & Her" features bass, synths, drums and vocal expressions. I really like the synth melody here though. "Heavy Metal" is the one that sounds the most ethnic thanks mainly to her vocal melodies. Vibes, percussion, drums and bass help out here too. Percussion only after 2 minutes then other sounds join in until it sounds like earlier after 4 minutes.

"King Krad" features African drums, pipes and atmosphere. Lots of percussion-like sounds too. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes to end this short one. "Republic Of Darkness" continues the dark theme. And yes it's dark with random and sparse intricate sounds. Not a lot going on until 2 minutes in as synths and pulsing sounds arrive. Drums then what sounds like a ticking clock. The pulsing sounds are interesting before 4 minutes. Some brief vocal cries too. Outbursts of sound follow as it builds some. This continues until it settles after 6 minutes.

The last two songs are okay but I'm thinking 5 stars up to this point. "Brenner" has an island vibe with those percussion sounds and I just don't like that sound. We get bells, synths, gongs and drums here. "The Spectator" just doesn't seem like it belongs here at all. I mean it's a pretty good humerous track with spoken female words throughout telling this story but these last two tracks see the band going in a different direction.

A couple of pretty amazing albums towards the end of the eighties from this special and innovative band that bring some credibility to this bleak time. The band is DARK and they are a multi national outfit.

 Tamna Voda by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.81 | 14 ratings

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Tamna Voda
Dark Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This could be a long one. DARK were based out of Germany but they were a multi-national band with their leader Mark Nauseef(drums, percussion) being from the USA and believe it or not a childhood friend of Ronnie James Dio. He would play on Dio's ELF project but way before that in 1971 Mark at 18 years of age joined THE VELVET UNDERGROUND. He would play with THE IAN GILLAN BAND after that then with Gary Moore before moving to Germany and collaborating with Joachim Kuhn of ASSOCIATION P.C. fame. It is from Germany that this project arose and this was their second and final album released in 1988.

We get Serbian guitarist Miroslav Tadic along with American bass player Mark London Sims who would later play with Don Cherry and NELS CLINE TRIO. His playing is very upfront and deep. We also get two incredible guests in L. Shankar playing double violin and David Torn playing guitar and guitar loops. I like that these two both play on 3 separate tracks each leaving the core lineup to play on the remaining four songs. This is all instrumental and often experimental, my kind of adventerous music and certainly the best album I have heard so far from 1988.

"Trilok" opens with guitar and a high pitched instrument I'm not sure of. Soon deep bass lines and drums join in as the high pitched sounds step aside. It picks up quickly. Bass and drums only follow but the guitar is back quickly making noise. Man the guy can drum, I absolutely love his style. Guitar only before 2 minutes then that unusual sounding double violin joins in along with bass and drums. Man that violin is screaming at one point. Drums, bass and guitar lead after 3 1/2 minutes before the violin returns again. Those high pitched sounds are back before 4 1/2 minutes with violin, bass and drums. What an opener!

"Xanthophyl" opens with atmosphere and vibes along with relaxed drums. The guitar starts to come to the fore around a minute. Vibes only after 1 1/2 minutes then the guitar is back slowly offering up some expressions to end it. "Sacred Heart" is the first track with Torn on it, one of my favourite guitarists. It opens with the guitar lighting it up as the drums rumble and more. It settles back before a minute with lots of atmosphere as it calms down even more to an almost haunting vibe before 1 1/2 minutes. Picked guitar starts to rise out of this then it kicks back in a minute later with outbursts of drums, guitar and more. Another calm and it's almost silent after 3 minutes. Percussion, bass and more start to come to the fore. Its building before 4 minutes as the guitar joins in and it's nasty. Oh yeah it is! Love the depth of sound here and the dark vibe. Check out the angular guitar starting before 7 minutes.

"Drifting" is a Jimi Hendrix tune from his "The Cry Of Love" album. Lightly picked guitar before Shankar arrives with that double violin and some depth. This is a relaxed tune with an apt title. "Buzzard Luck" has some active but tasteful guitar along with drums and bass. This is the first really jazzy moment. It's building until suddenly it's bass only then some experimental sounds, especially from the guitar. Love this stuff. A calm after 2 minutes but some more weird guitar follows then vibes. It picks up again before 3 minutes then a calm ends it.

"Tamna Voda" opens with this deep atmosphere that builds as the guitar plays very slowly over top. The guitar starts to get more powerful before 2 minutes as the drums come to the fore. Love his drum work here and that guitar style. "Ready To Order" opens with that in your face bass that I really like with drums, guitar and more. It settles right down a minute in with bass and vibes as Torn offers up some slow guitar expressions over top. Nice. Check it out after 3 minutes. It kicks in again like the start around 4 minutes with the bass leading the way. Metal is flying everywhere As Torn unleashes in a big way.

"Smoke At Will" has a quiet start, kind of haunting actually with atmosphere and bass as the guitar cries out. The guitar then starts to make some noise after 2 minutes. My kind of soundscape. "Para" is a Joachim Kuhn composition. Bass to start as Shankar arrives with his double violin. There's more as these outbursts come and go before it kicks into gear at 1 1/2 minutes. This is uptempo with violin over top then the guitar is on fire, scraping away away before the violin returns after 2 1/2 minutes. Back to those outbursts from earlier with calms in between.

"Merciful" ends it and Torn is back for this one. Percussion and atmosphere as some laid back picked guitar joins in, bass too. It picks up before 2 1/2 minutes as we get percussion only and some atmosphere. Some strange vocal expressions are brief after 3 1/2 minutes then the guitar makes some noise over the percussion that has slowed down. The guitar is picked again like earlier after 5 minutes with atmosphere, percussion and bass.

This could go under Avant or Eclectic but I understand the debut is Jazz/ Rock. Funny I just started listening to music today for my reviews this weekend and I've found another killer album from 1988 by Wulf Zednek. This one is a must for fans of adventerous music.

 Dark by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.53 | 9 ratings

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Dark
Dark Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars 80'S Experimental/Jazz ensemble based in Germany and led by American percussionist Mark Nauseef.Nauseef had a long career in the fields of Free Jazz and World Music having already put up some solo albums and having collaborated with artists like Rabih Abou-Khalil or Joachim Kühn.Dark was his project on CMP Records, working next to engineer (and ex- Parzival member) Walter Quintus.On the 1986 self-titled debut Nauseef was accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Leonice Shinneman and Mark London Sims along with female singer Catherine Guard.

The love of Nauseef for the free forms of music is evident throughout the album and the opening ''Du reptile'' is a great cut, a combination of dissonant soundscapes with a powerful ending guitar-driven rhythm that just leaves you wanting for more.Unfortunately the rest of ''Dark'' is a much more experimental and cosmic listening experience.Nauseef focuses on the long repetitive grooves of his percussion and drums with the assistance of Quintus, who uses a Casio sampling keyboard, producing sonic soundscapes.So the rest goes like a mix of African and Arab grooves through the percussion with female wordless vocals and digital sound effects, while the bass and guitars remain deeply in the background as supporting instruments.As a whole the listening becomes very hypnotic along the way and often has a noisy than musical approach, not uninteresting by any means but definitely not aiming to a wide audience.

I wish this album followed the path of the opening great number until the end.As it is though I can only recommended it to fans of narcotic Experimental Music with an interest on ethnic enviroments.

 Dark by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.53 | 9 ratings

BUY
Dark
Dark Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This band was formed by Mark Nauseef in 1986. And, it had the career that graduated from California Institute of the Arts both of four first members who had composed this "Dark". Especially, Mark Nauseef with various histories for the activity of music might be a very uncommon musician.

Pursuit of possibility to musical instruments as percussionist. Or, it pursues it concerning Rock and Jazz. And, an original music character might always have been developed avariciously researching the ethno music. Shape to express as one of the results of the search concerning the music character is being splendidly expressed by this band.

It is a well-known fact that Mark Nauseef from the United States was originally active with various Rock Band of Britain after the 70's as Rock Drummer. Or, it flows with the activity in the exchange in the 80's with Joachim Kuhn. A radical activity in Hamburg shows the talent in the item of Jazz.

It is said that Mark Nauseef felt the necessity for being absorbed in the research for the ethno music and the progressive music as the result in the flow and situation. Man who went on to California Institute of the Arts for the period of 1987 from 1985 is a research of the music of the progressive music and Africa. And, the degree concerning the music of the Middle East is acquired. There might be a part to which this "Dark" was formed with the shape of practice concerning the music character that exactly does the research repeatedly in California Institute of the Arts.

When all music can be expressed at first, this band is receiving Leonice Shinneman of the drum player who has received the reputation in the band. And, it is said that the wife of Leonice Shinneman was studying the gamelan music with Mark Nauseef. This Catherine Guard is made to participate as Vocal of the band. Furthermore, the member who added Mark London Sims of the bass player who had been studying African Dance with Mark Nauseef was forming this band.

After it participates in this debut album, Catherine Guard is away from the band. And, guitar player's Miroslav Tadic joins the band in "Tamna Voda" of 2 continuingnd Album. The guitar is not allowed to participate in this album. It succeeds by introducing it an original Music character the synthesizer in construction. extend the Music character

The activity of the band at this time might construct an indeed original music character and achieve a wonderful result. However, the base of the activity of Mark Nauseef in the 80's was in Hamburg as a description by the above-mentioned. It is said also that it was time when time is done similarly and the child was blessed for Mark Nauseef. As for this band, dissolution is done through necessity as a result in the situation in which Mark Nauseef by which the stay in the United States became difficult after it graduates from California Institute of the Arts is put.

The music character that this band practiced it is a racial tradition and an exactly introduction of musical instruments. Or, it is likely to express it well as an attempt to open power that exploits of power to lead to the music of the West in the part of the technique and is opposite. The experiment is effective as the attempt to challenge not the expression of a superficial, new music character but an unknown music character.

As for "Du Reptile", the sense of coming in succession of the rhythm and a metallic sound expresses the part of racial music. As for the tune, the melody with which the tension with the synthesizer will overflow before long crosses each other. The tension and Groove of the band done all together might have exactly decided the directionality of this band.

"Even Darker" is a sound of Tabla performed with the line and Drone of heavy bass. Or, the sound of the synthesizer with the voice and the tension. These advance in union harmoniously. As for the atmosphere of profundity and the constructed music character, the music character at which this band exactly aimed is expressed enough. A chaotic part is expressed and the tune is continued.

"Happy Days Slash Hate Tatum" might have Nouveau Rock part. However, the scat and the rhythm have introduced an Oriental music character. Vocal harmony of the scat in close relation to Groove of the rhythm section that continues and the synthesizer gives a good tension. The construction of the role of bass and the entire melody in the part that chord transposes might be also splendid.

As for "Him And Her", an electronic sound twines round complete Groove with an enchantment scat. Construction of crosswiring rhythm. Or, it is partial of the electronic sound that continues contrasting it. The distorted scat improves the tension further. The technology of the rhythm section is overwhelming.

In "Heavy Matal", a traditional melody of gamelan is a subject. The construction of the melody with the synthesizer is indeed the thickness and increases power. The expression of the music character that they were pursuing has been exactly made the best use of enough by this tune. Construction of complex rhythm. The construction of the music character to exclude the sound of an extra decoration gives the part of profundity. The line of bass in which it introduced it in close relation to Rock Beat and the activity of the percussion instrument are also more splendid.

In "King Krad", the construction of a chaotic rhythm is a subject. There is a little part where the rhythm of Music in Indonesia is recollected. Introduction of rhythm and voice that changes momentarily. And, the high pitched sound of an effective percussion instrument is a charm.

As for "Republic Of Darkness", the feature coming in succession of the continuing electronic sound. Or, rhythmically. twine intermittentlyAnd, it is continuous of the sound in which it effectively introduces it. An experimental element to which the element of the progressive music is taken as an impression might go out strongly. The tension is overwhelmingly expressed. A heavy melody and all the sounds become harmonious and it advances.

In "Brenner", the melody of the music of the tradition of Indonesia is a subject. The melody of Steel Pan maintains the tradition. Rhythm of percussion instrument to contribute to tune completely. It is a tune where the result of the research of the music character that they cultivated is exactly expressed. The synthesizer to introduce effectively is suitable for the tune, too.

"The Spectator" is a tune mainly composed of 5/8 rhythms. The part of the narration has been introduced well while continuing the element of Jazz Rock. A variegated sound and the tension of the synthesizer have exploded overwhelmingly. This band will give the impression that simple music alone is not researched to the power of this tune and the expression method. As for this album, their music characters are satisfactorily demonstrated enough as a collective impression.

The expression and uniting the music character that they had been cultivating left a good result enough though the activity of this band was a short life as the result.

 Tamna Voda by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.81 | 14 ratings

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Tamna Voda
Dark Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars "Tamna Voda", the second album by Dark, is not as dark as "Dark", but is still dark enough to be called "Dark". Mark Nauseef and Leonice Shinneman are still there on percussion, but this time they have Mark London Sims on bass and Miroslav Tadic on guitars. Also along for the ride are guest artists L. Shankar and David Torn. Together they made what I believe is one of the finest fusion albums of the 1980s.

Like the first album, there is a Mahavishnu Orchestra sound, as well as some Univers Zero. The tuned percussion of Shinnemann, and the additional focus on odd rhythms in the melodies also give the album a bit of a Zappa flavor as well. You can even throw in some Henry Cow if you like. In fact, this album would fit in just as easily as RIO as jazz fusion.

Simply put, this is one of my all time favorite albums. It's just too bad that it was released during a decade that real creativity was pretty much ignored, and this band didn't get the attention it deserved.

Listen to it. I dare you.

 Dark by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.53 | 9 ratings

BUY
Dark
Dark Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars My best description of this album is that is falls somewhere between Univers Zero and Shakti, with a heavy emphasis on percussion. And it is very dark.

The songs are an international blend of fusion, with rhythms that sound like they were inspired by musics from Africa, the Middle East and Asia primarily. The keyboars are where the Univers Zero comparison comes in, playing strong, and often complex patterns over the rhythm sections. And all of this is enhanced by Catherine Guard's beautiful, airy vocals floating above the instruments.

My only complaint is that at a little over forty minutes, this album is just too short. Maybe that's a good thing, that I want more.

Thanks to snobb for the artist addition.

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