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Shamanic intonations

Lose your virginity all over again with Magik Markers

MAGIK MAKERS: Elisa Ambrogio and Pete Nolan will be in Olympia on Saturday. Photo on MySpace

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Somehow I have been greatly blessed. In the past few years I have been repeatedly unable to connect with the subjects of rock interviews I pitch to this fabled — and probably award-winning — publication. Somehow, though, probably due to low morals, rampant alcoholism and/or drug abuse, denial and self-loathing — our esteemed editors have seen it fit to nonetheless let me assail your frontal lobes, once again, for money — and for this I am eternally grateful.

The article was supposed to have been a shockingly candid, insightful, well-developed, and thought-out presentation of the stunningly beautiful mind of Elisa Ambrogio, half of the group Magik Markers. Due to touring conflicts, we were unable to connect, even with last minute assistance from some of indie rock’s finest. Thus my quest into the psyche of one of rock’s most eloquent songstresses remains unrealized.

Alas, my lusting heart will always have YouTube and the memories of my ears’ first time hearing Ambrogio’s haunting voice.

The journey begins at a record shop called Stinkweeds in Phoenix, Ariz., circa 2007. Your humble intrepid reporter had once again made a horrific decision with his life and was preparing a fast exit from the Valley of the Sun for the greener shores of Oakland, and the promises of California. That is another story. This one starts with an Ecstatic Peace! label sampler thrown my way by the Athenian beauty that is Lindsey, Stinkweeds’ manager. It was a freebie upon purchasing Thurston Moore’s Trees Outside The Academy. As you may or may not know, the Sonic Youth guitarist is also the owner of Ecstatic Peace!.

Lost somewhere in the piles of material waste that was my room — if not my life — the sampler resurfaced as the last of my belongings were being loaded into the backseat as I headed for Oakland. I chucked it up front for eventual listening.

Somewhere around Bakersfield the disc made its way into the well thought out aural designs of the very comfortable Saturn (RIP) SUV I rented. Imagine my surprise when the second track played, and instead of wailing post punk melodies, came this somber and wistful siren’s account of a tragically foreshadowing nightmare — involving a severed thumb and a jilted lover, presented perfectly over subdued feedback waves and acoustic guitar. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and I immediately put it on repeat for the next few dozen miles, the droning guitar work a perfect co-pilot for the journey ahead.

Upon arriving in the Bay and getting settled, I made my way to Rasputin’s in Berkeley in search of the Magik Markers — the band that had floored me during my journey. Now imagine my surprise again when, after copping Boss, the duo’s second effort, I was remiss to find anything but over-the-top pulsing screams of feedback, noise, and an almost uncanny ability by Ambrogio to un-play a guitar over drummer Pete Nolan’s ritually intuitive hammering.

Disappointed? HELL NO!

It had been quite a while since I had heard anything that absolutely jaw-dropping. It was day-stopping, get on the bus, go home and put this on 11 good. I simultaneously felt the residual highs of guilty pleasure and faith restored. It was like losing your virginity again. Bathed in the afterglow, you forgot how long it had been and how good it could feel.

In combining their two free-form styles, Ambrogio and Nolan — together, Magik Markers — draw the subconscious of the listener into their shamanic intonations, inviting you to become part of the dance and enter into the peyote trance of the true rock believers. It’s part Kerouac-ian in it’s sonic free-association, puckering your cerebellum with sheer volume, with Ambrogio’s lyrics seeping into the mind’s eye with their timeless form as if Jah herself wants you to breathe her thoughts. She wants to bring you in on the joke.

I do not use these words lightly. Ambrogio is the heir apparent to the Jim Morrison throne, whose duality as High Priestess lyrically calls forth an American kaleidoscopic milieu of tongue-in-cheek deadpan nostalgia alongside a high-powered barrage of cosmic intonations, while Nolan, a one-man circle of drumming elders fearlessly marches you into the higher visions of your true rock self.

Magik Markers is ceremony. Come and join your tribe.

[ABC House, Magik Markers with Broken Water, Sic Alps, The Long Mornings, Saturday, Dec. 19, 9 p.m., all ages, $6, 105 Sherman St. NW, Olympia,]

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