The Crystal Ark
The Crystal Ark is the collaborative, body-centric New York pop project of Gavin Russom and Viva Ruiz. The group began when Russom asked Ruiz to write and sing Spanish lyrics over a pair of instrumentals he had created, blending his signature hypnotic synthesizer sound with live Afro-Latin percussion. Ruiz's fevered vocalizations, which blended song, spell and rallying cry, took these pieces to new heights and the result was two singles released on New York's DFA label: "The City Never Sleeps" and "The Tangible Presence of the Miraculous." the latter single featured percussionist Alberto Lopez's fierce polyrhythmic drumming as a supplement to the already driving electronic pulse. Wanting to carry the sound forward and expand it, Russom and Ruiz established Lopez as a fulltime member and also brought in four more: vocalists Jaiko Suzuki and Sokhna Heathyre Mabin (with whom Viva had worked previously), as well as bassist Tyler Pope and electronics expert Matt Thorley (with whom Russom had worked with during LCD Soundsystem's final tour). Second bassist Eliza Douglas joined shortly afterward. With this lineup in place, Russom and Ruiz produced their debut full-length album and launched a live show, featuring the full band plus dancers Irene "Discos" Deros and Alberto Cortes and a video crew comprised of Bec Stupak and Johnny Woods. They have appeared all over the world at venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Palais de Tokyo, the Hirshorn Museum and MOMA PS1 as well as many sweaty, dark night clubs.