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HOI Incantation Cover.jpg

Mark Cook - Warr guitar, fretless bass, guitar, programming, keyboards, samples

Gayle Ellett - Mellotron, Moog, Hammond organ, guitar, and field recordings

Mike McGary - Rhodes, piano, synth, Mellotron

Rick Read - Chapman Stick and bass

Bill Bachman - drums

Special Guests:

Colin Edwin - bass

Bob Fisher - sax and flute

Adam Holzman - keyboards

Stephen Page - violin

Dave Streett - Warr guitar and bass

Past members:

Mike Davison - guitar and guitar synth (2007-2014)

Jason Spradlin - drums (2007-2014)

Ross Young - drums (2015-2017)

HERD OF INSTINCT release date: May 17th 2011

Published by Firepool Records.

Featuring 10 tracks, digitally recorded. Total time: 46:15


Following the 2007 demise of their previous band 99 Names of God (having spent the previous 10 years as Art Rock anomalies in the Texas music scene) drummer Jason Spradlin and Warr guitarist Mark Cook decided to create a new group. They acquired guitarist and fellow Texan Mike Davison, whose chameleon like approach with NERVEWERKS, added great depth to their musical vision. With their new metamorphosis now complete, the band went into seclusion and began writing all new material, emerging only rarely for a few choice live shows.

Herd of Instinct's debut was published by Djam Karet’s indie label Firepool Records.  The CD was four years in the making.  The music created was a dark and varied form of contemporary instrumental Progressive Rock.  The self-titled release is truly for fans of King Crimson, Steve Tibbetts, Djam Karet and big picture music.


Pushing the limits of their own creativity, HERD OF INSTINCT draws from a vast source of influences: multi-cultural music, literary clues, Horror and cinematic film scores, and obscure elements of Rock, Avant-garde, Electronic, Prog, and Psychedelic music. Recording sessions took place in Texas, North Carolina, and various global locations, from 2007-2010. As a live unit, HERD OF INSTINCT performs as a trio, but during this recording process, the band decided to expand into a large-scale entity featuring many guest musicians including Dave Streett, whose secret treaties with such luminaries as Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, XTC), Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), and Markus Reuter (Tuner) helped bring these all-star musicians into the HERD.

The results are very provocative as evidenced by such songs as "Room Without Shadows," the lysergic "Road To Asheville," the schizoid-frenzy of "Anamnesis," the pagan majesty of "Hex," and the beautiful "Blood Sky" (the albums' lone vocal piece, courtesy of Kris Swenson). With looping samples provided by Steve Tibbetts, impeccable production, deep compositions, and impressive performances by all of the musicians involved, HERD OF INSTINCT is a well-crafted, landmark debut album.


Herd of Instinct "Conjure" release date: January 22, 2013.

Published by Firepool Records

Featuring 12 tracks.  Total time: 53:13


FIREPOOL RECORDS RELEASES CONJURE Herd of Instinct's Second Album Pushes Instrumental Boundaries Pushing the limits of their creativity, instrumental group Herd Of Instinct draws from a vast array of influences-multi-cultural music, literary clues, horror and cinematic film scores, obscure elements of rock, avant-garde, electronic, prog, and psychedelic music-to create a style that is uniquely their own. Released by Djam Karet's label Firepool Records, Conjure builds on the success of their first album. With guest musicians including Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Joel Adair (Legacy Brass Quintet), Bob Fisher, and looping samples by Steve Tibbetts, combined with their impeccable production, deep compositions, and impressive performances, Conjure is a real treat for fans of King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Mick Karn.Conjure is a finely-crafted, landmark release. In order to create a more dynamic and lively sound, no compression or limiting was used on this recording. This sophomore effort features polyrhythmic Warr guitar and powerful drumming, classic keyboards by Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet). and beautiful guitar solos and textures. Songs such as Praxis brim with intense, fiery energy. The beautiful and calming Alice Krige pt.1 has dreamy flute and jazzy trumpet melodies, whereas Solitude One, with its Indian dilruba lines, has a more dance vibe. The album closes with the psychedelic lullaby, The Secret of Fire, which completes this diverse yet coherent journey. On Conjure the focus is very much on composition, arrangements and orchestration. Their music is not just a set-up for showy solos. Instead, they create music that is full of great ensemble playing and group dynamics. Herd Of Instinct has a clear vision of what they are trying to do. And, fortunately for us, on Conjure their goals are fully realized.



September 1, 2013 Herd of Instinct played a rare show in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at the ProgDay music festival.


November 2013 the band began writing new material with the addition of Mike McGary playing keyboards.


2014 has turned out to be a tough year for HOI.  The writing for the next album has continued, but there have been major setbacks.  Sad news arrived in early 2014 when Mike Davison had to leave the band for personal reasons and more bad news arrived in September when Jason Spradlin decided to step out of the band to pursue other interests.  Mike and Jason will be missed! 

October 2014 a new Herd of Instinct line-up is announced and begins rehearsing!  The new HOI will feature two veteran Dallas musicians – Rick Read on Chapman Stick/bass and Ross Young on drums.  This transition has been seamless due to Mark having a long history with both musicians in the previous band called Minefield.  “They are the perfect fit for what HOI music requires – passionate musicians willing to take risks and be adventurous.”

Herd of Instinct: Manifestation

Published by Firepool Records

March 2016

Featuring 10 tracks.  Total time: 48:06

Herd of Instinct’s third album, Manifestation, is a transitional phase for the group.    The group has expanded its sound from the original three-member unit to a larger ensemble. The music’s densely layered sound gives the listener a “textural” listening experience with pieces ranging from the bombastic Dybbuk to the somber flute/violin piece Nocturne. Many songs are based around Mark Cook’s Warr guitar and Rick Read’s Chapman Stick combined with Ross Young’s detailed drumming to create a clock-like precision of a layered polyrhythmic machine.  Keyboardists Gayle Ellett (from Djam Karet) and Mike McGary play a crucial role in adding mood and texture to the music. Ellett also adds rhythm guitar to a few tracks and a poetic guitar solo on Shatterpoint. Bob Fisher, flute and saxophone, and Stephen Page, violin, are featured soloists who add diversity to the sonic palette of the band. Drummer, Bill Bachman, came on board towards the end of the recording process to add another element of intensity to the mix.

Herd of Instinct: Drone Priest

Published by Firepool Records

November 2017

Featuring 11 tracks.  Total time: 52:13


For over a decade, Herd of Instinct-that Little Ole Obscure Prog Band from Texas-has quietly created a body of work that reflects the wild diversity that is Prog Rock. Their newly released fourth album, Drone Priest, on Djam Karet's Firepool Records, takes the listener on a journey exploring mood, texture, and experimental song structures. The most dynamic and varied album the band has produced to-date, Drone Priest seamlessly layers elements of prog, post rock, ambient drones, jazz, and complex percussion, while showcasing the Warr guitar and analog synths to create a unique blend of genres. Composed by Mark Cook (Spoke of Shadows, Hands, Liquid Sound Company), Drone Priest features guests Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson), Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet), Marco Machera (EchoTest), and Bill Bachman (Spoke of Shadows, Michael Harris, Neil Morse).

Herd of Instinct: Hallow

Published by Firepool Records

April 2018

Featuring 5 tracks  

­Hallow is a radical remix/reimaging/reconstruction of Herd of Instinct’s music.  The progressive rock originals have been transformed into slow moving soundscapes.


Inspiration came from a wide range of sources - Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” to the drone metal of Sunn O))) to David Lynch's Eraserhead to Bill Laswell’s ambient mix translations of Bob Marley and Miles Davis.


Track List:


1. Manifestation Pt. 2 (Hallow Mix) 9:15

Bill Bachman - Drums

Mark Cook – Warr guitar

Gayle Ellett – Mellotron

Mike McGary - Rhodes

Rick Read – Chapman Stick


2. Ravenwood (Hallow Mix) 10:46

Mark Cook – Warr guitar

Mike Davison – Guitar

Gayle Ellett – Moog, Mellotron, and Hammond

Jason Spradlin – drums


3. Slow Current (Hallow Mix) 11:05

Mark Cook – Warr Guitar, Fretless bass, Mellotron, and Beat Construction

Gayle Ellett – Guitar


4. The Secret of Fire (Hallow Mix) 13:59

Mark Cook – Warr guitar

Mike Davison – Guitar

Gayle Ellett – Moog, Mellotron, Hammond, and Dilruba

Jason Spradlin – Drums


5. Torture Garden (Hallow Mix) 7:52

Mark Cook – String Arrangement


The mixes were constructed using only sounds that were recorded on the original versions.


Manifestation Pt.2 (from Manifestation - 2016)

Ravenwood (from Conjure - 2013)

Slow Current (from Drone Priest - 2017)

The Secret of Fire (from Conjure - 2013)

Torture Garden (unreleased new composition)


Recorded in Arlington, TX and Topanga, CA


Firepool Records FR10


Produced by Mark Cook


Artwork by Mark Cook


Thanks to Tam Laird (host of the Fade to Yellow radio show) for being the catalyst for this project.


Herd of Instinct: Incantation

Published by Firepool Records

October 31, 2019

Featuring 10 tracks  

Herd of Instinct’s fifth album, Incantation, is the band’s most dynamic and radical release yet.  The music explores the band’s progressive rock vocabulary mixed with excursions into densely layered post-rock compositions and hybrid orchestral works.   


Incantation moves through pieces that fit neatly with the band’s previous work.  The band also travels into new areas that take the band’s music into new directions.  It’s this “otherness” that makes the album a unique and challenging work by the band.


The two part title track is a trip into avant-prog featuring a superstar list of players to help achieve one of HOI’s most adventurous pieces.  This is also the first work since the debut album to feature vocals. 


The minimal orchestral piece Myth and Ritual was a homage written a short time after the death of avant-auteur Scott Walker that references his stark and brutal compositional style.


HOI continues to evolve and move forward.


Herd of Instinct:

Bill Bachman – drums and percussion

Mark Cook – Warr guitar, fretless bass, guitar, keyboards, and string arrangements

Mike McGary – piano and synth

Rick Read – Chapman Stick, bass, and keyboards


Special guest:

Elaine Di Falco (Thinking Plague) – vocals and lyrics

Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree, Ork) – fretless bass and ebow

Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet, Fernwood) – Mellotron, Rhodes, Moog, Hammond, harmonium, guitar, and tambura

Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson) – Rhodes, Moog, Mellotron, and Hammond

Stephen Page (Stonebriar String Quartet) – violin

Craig Shropshire (Impeding Bloom) – hand percussion and gong

Dave Streett – Warr guitar


Mastered by Gayle Ellett

Design and layout: Mark Cook


Track List:

  1. Sun Gun

  2. Incantation One

  3. Coin Locker Babies

  4. Prey 4 Winter

  5. Myth and Ritual

  6. Abaddon

  7. Pavement Grey

  8. Temples

  9. Incantation Two

  10. Torture Garden

Herd of Instinct
October 2020

Bandcamp Digital Album

Unravel is a journey through the life span of Herd of Instinct. The album consists of unreleased tracks from previous albums, improvisations, and newly recorded material.

Furnace, recorded in 2011, is an intense improvisation featuring Markus Reuter on his newly developed U8 Touch Guitar. The experimental track, Alice Krige Pt. 1 & 2, is the complete 10-minute version as it was originally intended. The piece was cut in half for the Conjure album. Alice was based around an improvisation with trumpet player Joel Adair and drummer Jason Spradlin. Later additional players were asked to improvise over the foundation to keep the spirit of spontaneous composition.

Conjure and Unravel are high energy pieces that take the band in a new direction of progressive rock and electronica.

The Plot, Torso, and National Anthem are tracks completed in Mid-2020. Bill Bachman’s bombastic drumming is the driving force of The Plot. Gayle Ellett’s wild Moog solo is the highlight of Torso. The biggest surprise of the album might be the cover of Radiohead’s National Anthem. The band has rarely played material by other artists.

Unravel features the return of founding member Jason Spradlin on drums and percussion for the first time since 2013.

released October 16, 2020

01 Conjure
Mark Cook - Warr guitar, guitar, beat construction, string arrangement, and programming
Gayle Ellett - Mellotron and Moog
Jason Spradlin - drums

02 Alice Krige Parts 1 & 2
Joel Adair - trumpet
Joe Blair - lapsteel guitar
Mark Cook - Warr guitar, fretless bass, guitar, electronics, percussion, piano, and samples
Mike Davison - 12 string acoustic guitar
Gayle Ellett - Mellotron and Rhodes
Bob Fisher - flute
Jason Spradlin - drums and programming

03 Torso
Mark Cook - Warr Guitar, beat construction, Rhodes, string arrangement, and synth
Gayle Ellett - Moog and Mellotron
Jason Spradlin - percussion

04 National Anthem
Mark Cook - Warr guitar, electronics, beat construction, programming, and samples
Gayle Ellett - Hammond organ
Mike McGary - synth and electric piano
Jason Spradlin - percussion
Eric Yacula - electronics and samples

05 Unravel
Mark Cook - Warr guitar, guitar, beat construction, and programming Gayle Ellett - Mellotron
Jason Spradlin - drums

06 Furnace
Mark Cook - Warr guitar and electronics
Markus Reuter - U8 touch guitar
Jason Spradlin - drums
Dave Streett - bass

07 The Plot
Bill Bachman - drums
Mark Cook - Warr guitar, synth, and string arrangement
Gayle Ellett - Mellotron and Rhodes
Stephen Page - violin
Rick Read - Chapman Stick

Produced by Herd of Instinct
Recorded between 2011-2020 in Arlington, TX and Topanga, CA
Mixed and Mastered by Mark Cook
Photo Collage and Layout by Mark Cook

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