Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Bark Psychosis - Hex
"Of all the bands branded with the nebulous "post-rock" tag, England's Bark Psychosis achieved the rarest balance between group musicality and post-production programming. Recorded with a large ensemble of musicians but pieced together with a computer and a sampler, HEX is a seamless tapestry--a miraculous album that never forfeits its supernatural aura to the sterility of digital design. Graham Sutton and Daniel Gish elaborate on such timeless models as A.R. Kane's 69, The Blue Nile's A WALK ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS, and Talk Talk's LAUGHING STOCK, filling HEX's wide-screen canvas with emotional song-craft and technological refinement.
HEX favors the elegant and understated, presenting an extraordinarily filmic backdrop against which piano, guitar, and vocal phrases, wisps of instrumentation, and Mark Simnett's percussive cascades fall like December snow. The secret tensions that underscore Bark Psychosis' shimmering quiescence first manifest themselves in John Ling's sinuous, dub-modulated basslines, occasionally erupting in such rapturous displays of bittersweet beauty as "A Street Scene" and "Eyes & Smiles." Other breathtaking flourishes include ribbon-fine feedback, quenching showers of vibes, and Del Crabtree's electrifying, Miles-style trumpet. Alas, even Bark Psychosis couldn't top HEX. The group disbanded, with Sutton finding fame in the drum-and-bass arena as Boymerang."
The group for whom the term "post-rock" was coined (in a review by Simon Reynolds in 1994), the term is still entirely appropriate for describing this masterpiece.