Last Ark Out


February 23, 2024

Release: February 23, 2024

Vancouver/EU based instrumental collective Last Ark Out announces the release of their upcoming sophomore album. A feat of creative remote collaboration in times of social distancing, the project brings together the jazz/groove/rock/funk sound of the five piece with high-profile guest artist appearances from around North America. 

‘Lift’ is set to release on the 23rd of February.

Recently revived after a considerable hiatus, LAO was first brought together through their musical studies at Vancouver Community College and Capilano University. Following their 2017 debut ‘Wake’, the band’s members have gone on to take part in residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and receive nominations for the prestigious Western Canadian Music Awards.  

Amidst a challenging landscape of COVID-19 restrictions, LAO made use of the Digital Now grant from Canada Council to overcome the obstacles in the way of their creativity. Composing and recording a series of pieces in their signature style of groove-based instrumental jazz/rock, their challenge was to leave enough room for their long-distance collaborators to showcase their own identities while involving themselves in an atypical format of musical conversation

Surmounting the physical distance that separated them, featured on the record are six international artists’ distinctive imprints, including those of Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy, Quincy Jones, Kurt Elling), Sarah Thawer (Jacob Collier, A. R. Rahman, Jon Batiste) and Sasha Berliner (Christian McBride, Tyshawn Sorey).

With intricate songwriting and virtuosity across a breadth of instruments sharing the spotlight, searing electric guitars, rich progressive harmony, and lyrical saxophone melodies create an expansive sound-world grounded by hypnotic riffs and ferocious drum grooves. Carefully crafted arrangements give way to extended jaw-dropping solos on synth, guitar, electric vibraphone and kit that demonstrate the effortless instrumental proficiency LAO and their guests have at their disposal.

The album art, portraying a spaceship venturing into uncharted territory serves as a metaphor for the uncertainty involved in the quintet’s creative process, as well as the challenges the world collectively faced. Each track combines slick modern musicianship, contemporary affected production techniques, and technologies of old and new from MIDI to AI to tell a unique story resonating with LAO’s journey. Every song is accompanied by a video release, available via YouTube.

Harald Walkate

Line up

Arthur Pascau Smith | Guitar, Composition
Jeff Gammon | Bass
Justin Gorrie | Alto Saxophone, Guitar, EMEO
James Huumo | Keyboards
Colin Parker | Drums

Track Listing

Brackish (ft. Sasha Berliner)
Dyab (ft. Larnell Lewis)
Late to the Game (ft. David Osei-Afrifa)
Libra (ft. Hailey Niswanger)
Scorpio (ft. Sarah Thawer)
Song Needs Title (ft. Allison Au)
It’s that Dream Again

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