Sunday, June 02, 2024

The Deep Ark

Now here's something extraordinary... 


Built by The Arkiteket - an enigmatic figure, known to some on this circuit, but for this project self-shrouded in mystery.

Years in the making,  The Deep Ark  consists of three elements. 

The core is a mix - an extended (8 hour plus) odyssey through 1990s  Electronic Listening Music (to use the term originally deployed by Warp Records).  

It's more like a remixtape than a selection of tracks segueing seamlessly one after the other. More often than not, the components have been partially disassembled - moving parts rejiggered, tempos tinkered, keys tweaked--before being jigsawed back into perfectly annealed alignment. 

Listening to the entire length and breadth of The Deep Ark, you get a powerful sense of the music of this era as a single gigantic living organism. Each track is individually distinct while also webbed within an ecosystem of reciprocal influence and mutual inspiration. The balance between genius and scenius, the auteur and the collective, is ever-shifting.

Download the whole mix here here (where you'll also find the tracklist) or listen to it at YouTube.

As the word "Ark" suggests, this ultramix is a vessel in both senses: something that takes you on a voyage, and a container. A sacred repository, a canister for the future, an archive, a memorial.

Not so much separate levels or extensions of the mix, but plateaux in parallel, the two other components of The Deep Ark are visual and textual: a website and a book.

The site contains images, commentary about each track that features in the mix, and an in-depth meditation on the whys-and-wherefores of the project, cast as a dialogue between The Arkiteket and an unknown interlocutor. 

Here's a snippet, discussing how The Deep Ark has been informed by the ideas and impulses of Romanticism:

"... I’m really thinking in the painterly sense here...  an emotive, individualist representation of landscape and memory that touches on the darker aspects of the sublime... . We see this contradiction at work within this genre as a whole; Aphex Twin, an oneiric visionary in the mould of Blake, instantiating his dream music through sleep deprivation and the induction of hypnopompic and hypnagogic states, and Autechre, with their obsessive relish for intricately detailed sound design and their construction of these deeply evocative, hymnal, hyper-textural sonic sculptures, like scribes solemnly illuminating a testament to human emotion.... I think romantic is the best description of this intensely individualistic and emotional music, full of yearning, sadness and beauty. 

Credited to The Arkonauts, the 238-page, lushly illustrated book juxtaposes nature photography with prose-poetic writing-as-reverie. 

The photographs are doctored documents of a landscape-turned-dreamscape - a real place that has served for many years as a site for ritual adventures, journeys to the end of the night.  Images have been remixed in ways that parallel the techniques applied to the musical components of The Deep Ark.  Photographs were altered, overlaid, colorized, mutated or outright generated via AI.  

The result is a form of hallucinatory hauntology - a monument to an Area of Outstanding (Super)Natural Beauty. 


A powerful and deep world of sound
filled with the vibrations of nature.

Music to match the wave patterns,
selected and transmitted to harmonise
with each cycle of this guiding line.

An unusual mental space where you can experience
the sweet beginnings of life itself.

To truly grasp the spirit of the dream tide

More about The Deep Ark from the Broken Sleep Books website

A psychedelic odyssey that plunges the reader into a mythic exurban world of wonder, ritual, folly & friendship, The Deep Ark blurs the lines between the imagined, the real and the invoked. Moments of tenderness, humor, grief, joy and revelatory intensity combine to form a fragmented narrative of quiet lyrical beauty, suffused with an abiding reverence for the music, memories, community and landscape that inspired it. Check the forecast one last time, put your headphones on, open The Deep Ark and get lost.

Praise for The Deep Ark

Gnarled, airy, and vibrantly psychedelicized, The Deep Ark is the kind of organic artifact that not only satisfies aesthetically, but draws you into the magical traces of its own production… a visionary and desperate bid to rediscover the animist potential still humming, even as you read in this, in the actual landscapes around us.

Erik Davis, author of High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies

The Deep Ark is an extended meditation on the periphery of the state, represented in the social unit of the collective… the actual geography of heathland, golf courses, hills, and quarries… and in the UK’s melancholic electronica of the nineties

Matthew Ingram, author of Retreat and The "S" Word

A rave review at International Times by Rupert Loydell:

"This book is a technicolour atlas, a shamanistic guidebook, an augmented mixtape, a multimedia experience, a natural high. It is primary experience mediated through photography and lyrical songs, evocative poems and secular hymns, emotional outbursts, cosmic wonder and everyday dirt. Techno-pixelations and long-exposure night photos enhance our reading of the words, just as the text changes what we see. Everyone of us is lost but together we can not only find each other but also ourselves"

And (effectively) a preview printed in The Wire about 18 months ago, by Michaelangelo Matos

And more raves from those who know: 

- Philip Sherburne, from his Futurism Restated substack 

"Mix of the week, or possibly the entire year"

- John Coulthart{ feuilleton }


An (almost) completely unconnected track - hypnagogic pop rather than electronic-listening-music -  but that seems to come from a similar oneiric-psychogeographic wellspring. 

Another project without much surface resemblance but with a kinship at core




  1. I love this so much. I'm excited to go on this eight hour journey!

  2. Amazing, Simon. Thank you!


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