Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There is no fooling anyone. Innocence was lost long, long ago when it comes to the music that Alessi Laurent-Marke makes as Alessi's Ark. It was likely just hanging on by a thread for the longest time anyway, threatening to drop off, silently into the sea for too long. She's a woman - or "just a woman" as she sings on one song - who has been ransacked and gutted too many times for being such a young woman. She comes across as someone who has been beset by generous helpings of pain and disappointment in her life. It's forced her to look at it all and try to find meaning in it, to find out where it all came from and what it wants from her.
She writes as if she feels the sorrow both entering and leaving her body, like a bullet gracious enough to not get lodged into a muscle or a bone, where it will forever reside, reminding the body of the infraction and the blood spilled. It could very well be what makes the sorrow that she sings of so lovely. It's because we feel it from both angles - at its most violent and menacing and then after it's been slowed or weakened and it's retreating somewhat, having been met and fought.
Laurent-Marke is a woman who doesn't leave the house without a tote bag packed with a thick novel to read during any of those moments when she'd prefer not to be bothered, which are numerous. They are the moments when she can live wholly inside herself, where she's familiar with all the stares and the eyes there. It's a better place to be, especially for one so fond of the soft touch of sadness and phantom kisses. She sings, "Some things are better sung than said," and still, some things are better just chewed on silently, in that romantic and poetically perfect way of unrequited satisfaction. It's where the words feel so ideal and the reactions on the faces that hear them are so desired, in that wonderfully charming space between the ears, when the lights are either off or dimmed.
*Essay originally published May, 2012
Alessi's Ark Official Site
Bella Union Records