'Hex' formed part of the first wave of post-rock made whilst the likes of Mogwai were in short trousers but it has more in common with the splintered atmospheres of late period Talk Talk, a meticulously conceived masterpiece of mood and emotion. Now expertly re-mastered and re-pressed, this is an essential purchase for fans of exploratory, forward thinking music.
Vinyl Double LP £24.92 FIRELP084
2LP on Fire Records - remastered in 2017 from the original analog tapes at Metropolis Studios by Graham Sutton and Stuart Hawkes and cut at 45rpm.
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CD £11.99 FIRECD084
CD on Fire Records - remastered in 2017 from the original analog tapes at Metropolis Studios by Graham Sutton and Stuart Hawkes.
It’s hard to be objective about an album that was the soundtrack some of the grimmest times of my life. Early ‘90s, lost in an attic of a shared house in darkest Leeds, forever autumn and it seemed this album was rarely out of earshot. Strange thing is, I've barely played it since. At the time I was obsessed by Talk Talk and this was the nearest I could find to their fractured, broken song structures.
Listening again two things stand out - its dark inner city early-hours-of-the-dawn atmospheres pre-date Burial doing the same thing years later albeit with different tools. Secondly how, at times, particularly in the vocal department, Epic 45 owe them a huge debt. Frighteningly so.
Bark Psychosis came from the same first wave of post-rock gang as Disco Inferno, Moonshake and Insides, very inner London. Dead serious like. But boy did they create some gorgeous music. Their collection of singles 'Independency' is possibly an even better record that this, containing their 24 minute piece de resistance 'Scum', but this is their only studio album (until leader Graham Sutton re-configured the name mid 2000s for largely solo and often so-so effort).
Word has it that Sutton mixed his vocals word by word on this record and the album screams attention to detail. Firstly the rhythm section rivals Talk Talk for precise, jazz inflected playing. Each track is expertly constructed with a configuration of beautifully effected guitars, muted melancholy horns, lonesome piano chords and...the merest hint of the eerie atmospheres of the onrushing drum and bass scene (of which Sutton had a decent stab at as Boymerang).
Songs sprawl towards the seven minute mark sometimes ebbing off into pastoral ambience, sometimes using Philip Glass-esque jittery ryhthms, not afraid of the odd jazz inflection, the bass lines and drums always stun and come across like 'Metal Box' PiL jamming along to The Blue Nile. A superb atmosphere record, takes a bit of getting into and sometimes just a little too feathery in places but like its sister album of this era, Slowdive's underrated swansong 'Souvlaki', it’s basically the sound of serious young people mangling Talk Talk's blueprint into their own sonic territories.
10/10 Jason 14th February 2019
Every now and then, a record comes along that seems to exist in its own little bubble, outside of its actual time and place. This is one of those records. This is music of such maturity, beauty and restraint that it's hard to imagine it was created by a bunch of Essex lads in their early twenties (no disrespect to Essex lads). This double vinyl pressing spins at 45rpm and sounds even better than the CD I bought in 1994. The Talk Talk influences are well-known and obvious, but it takes the Spirit of Eden blueprint and, slowly and beautifully, takes it somewhere new. A lovely record with no apparent flaws.
9/10 Gregor 11th July 2017
Worth it alone for Pendulum Man. If you disagree with that, then you're a wank.
But really, this has probably been a slowest burning album for me, lasting for the past decade. It's a record that has a knack of making you feel like an old man and reminiscing everything you've went through, or could've went through.
Now that I'm saying those words, maybe I'm the wank.
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- Hex by Bark Psychosis
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