Bark Psychosis: Hex Album Evaluate


For Bark Psychosis, making their debut album was an act of obliteration. Over the course of some singles and EPs within the late ’80s and early ’90s, the quartet—composed of vocalist and guitarist Graham Sutton, bassist John Ling, drummer Mark Simnett, and finally multi-instrumentalist Daniel Gish—matured from youngsters obsessive about Napalm Loss of life and noise rock to composers of affected person and oft-improvisational pop music. However as they got down to work on Hex, they started to consider the entire enterprise otherwise. They had been prepared for the band to die.

“We’ve by no means been taken with rock,” Sutton advised Melody Maker quickly after the album’s launch. “I’m even uncomfortable with the concept of being in a band. It appears such a juvenile factor. I’m making an attempt to interrupt all of it up for the time being.”

Traces of this philosophy had been evident within the music they’d made main as much as Hex. “Scum,” a 21-minute track recorded amid the pews and moldy carpets of the London church the place Simnett labored after which launched as a standalone single, sounds as if their early dreamy pop music had been diminished to misty echoes. Distant vocal sections are clouded out by celestial drones and noises that flutter and flip like coronary heart palpitations. The band strikes discursively between loosely outlined sections, ruled seemingly by the logic of daydreams.

It’s an method that finally led Simon Reynolds to name Bark Psychosis “post-rock.” Although the band has little in frequent, aesthetically or philosophically, with gooey sentimentalists like Explosions within the Sky and Sigur Rós who turned widespread below that umbrella, in a literal sense, the time period matches. “Scum,” and, later, Hex, represented a full-on rupture with the construction and sound of rock. Instead of yowling emotionality, Sutton provided sedate murmurs. For preening riffs, they substituted brittle, crystalline guitar figures. As an alternative of thunderous percussion, Simnett performed economically and compactly, recalling the mechanical precision of the Can data and techno they had been listening to on the time. Bark Psychosis realized to be meditative, mysterious, and elliptical in a manner that felt virtually confrontational. Every launch turned a provocation to satisfy the band by itself phrases, to seek out no matter peace you possibly can in its unusual rhythms.

With Hex, Sutton—the band’s self-described “taskmaster”—sought to push these concepts even additional. The group had lengthy nurtured an obsession with the inflexible strictures of techno, and the sequencer-based course of that generated such ecstatic repetition, an method they aimed to copy on Hex. Jettisoning the four-guys-in-a-room-jamming course of that birthed “Scum,” the band labored closely with sampling, modifying, and dubbing takes. The impact is delicate, however the ensuing songs do share at the least a philosophical hyperlink to the digital music that impressed them. Hex’s compositions are hallucinatory and unusual; they unfurl slowly, shifting steadily over the course of a monitor’s delicate sprawl till the opening moments are a distant reminiscence.

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