The Royal Arctic Institute Will Be Waking Us Up ‘From Coma To Catharsis’ In 2023

From Coma To Catharsis will be the second full “exploratory mission” in the current five-piece incarnation of NYC/NJ-based instrumental ensemble, The Royal Arctic Institute. It’s the sequel to last year’s From Catnap To Coma, and like its predecessor, the new mini-album was recorded and produced by James McNew (Yo La Tengo) in the historic Neumann Leather Factory in Hoboken, New Jersey.

From Coma To Catharsis is being released February 4th, 2023 by Already Dead Tapes and Records and will be available on cassette , as a paid download, and on streaming platforms. Later in the year, the band hopes to release both titles on vinyl. The band also recently released From Catnap To Coma as one long sound file on Bandcamp. You can also still check out our interview with John Leon about that EP on Wildfire right here.

At present, The Royal Arctic Institute comprises five musicians who have played extensively with other groups and/or as backing/session musicians: drummer Lyle Hysen (Das Damen, Arthur Lee, The Misguided), guitarists John Leon (Roky Erickson, Summer Wardrobe, Abra Moore) and Lynn Wright (And The Wiremen, Bee And Flower, Shilpa Ray), bassist David Motamed (Das Damen, Two Dollar Guitar, Arthur Lee, Townes Van Zandt), and keyboardist Carl Baggaley (Headbrain, Gramercy Arms). 

From Coma To Catharsis is ambitious in that it tries to capture the auditory experience of one’s first feelings coming out of a coma, wondering if it would be cathartic and how that, too would sound.

As with previous releases, all the pieces were created “communally, deconstructing then reconstructing material” mainly composed by guitarist John Leon with a couple written by other band members. McNew recorded the band in a live setting with no digital magic and minimal overdubs except for pedal steel work.  

From Coma To Catharsis is, sadly, guitarist Lynn Wright’s last work with the band as a full member as he’s recently relocated to Berlin to “further his career in music and fine dining”. The band will continue to play shows and record with Wright when possible, but, as the band says, “perhaps as the past two years have shown us, who knows if everything will be cathartic, or just a return to a coma”.

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