Sunday, May 22, 2011

Talk Talk Series, #8: Bark Psychosis- Hex (1994) / Independency (1994) MP3 & FLAC

 "Incision carved out, no traces of doubt, I can't extract the truth."

While Talk Talk drummer Lee Harris worked with Bark Psychosis on both their 2004 comeback LP, Codename: Dustsucker and their brilliant and innovative debut, Hex, the true nature of the connection between Talk Talk and Bark Psychosis was one of influence, namely the influence of Talk Talk's masterpiece and swan-song Laughing Stock on the conception of and approach to recording Hex. As such, Bark Psychosis was one of the first bands (and perhaps the best) to integrate Talk Talk's later experimental work into their own aesthetic. However, Hex manages to incorporate this influence (among others) by pushing it into new contexts, and in doing so, accomplishes a rare feat among albums: it gives birth to its own genre, what critic Simon Reynolds dubbed "Post-Rock." Perhaps the defining elements of this approach are a move away from traditional pop song structure and an emphasis on texture and space over repetition and resolution. Genres and catch phrases aside, Hex is simply a singular and timeless album that is ultimately indefinable because it never coalesces into something solid or stable. A highlight among highlights is "A Street Scene"; with its seemingly looped bass part, moody guitar, horns and hushed vocals, the song, at first glance, seems to progress according to some kind of recognizable structure, but the melody is always slightly out of focus and the song ultimately refuses the confines of pop song convention. Moving even further outside the pretense of song structure is "Fingerspit," which simultaneously manages to touch on experimental Jazz and Noise-Rock. While it is a difficult track, it is also beautifully lush and intricate. Hex is something of an enigma: too experimental to be considered a pop album, but too melodic and song-oriented to be considered Ambient. Whatever it is, Bark Psychosis' debut is truly one of the essential albums of the nineties.

1. The Loom  (5:16)
2. A Street Scene  (5:36)
3. Absent Friend  (8:20)
4. Big Shot  (5:21)
5. Fingerspit  (8:21)
6. Eyes & Smiles  (8:31)
7. Pendulum Man  (9:54)

1. I Know  (4:11)
2. Nothing Feels  (3:43)
3. All Different Things  (8:09)
4. By Blow  (5:07)
5. Manman  (5:02)
6. Blood Rush  (7:14)
7. Tooled Up  (7:36)
8. Scum  (21:15)


  1. Thank you for Independency!
    Are you going to post Codename:Dustsuker?

  2. Have you heard Sutton's D & B lp from 96 - Boymerang? really nice it is.

  3. carlos, I have no plans to post more Bark Psychosis in the Talk Talk series, but I could post it next week as your request

  4. spaceman73, I'll definitely check that out. I saw it on rutracker

  5. I would appreciate it, voixature!Download it from legal sources in mp3 some time ago and I would really love to upgrade.

  6. carlos, I'll post "Codename" and the "Game Over" comp together later this coming week. I may go ahead and post Boymerang as well

  7. it's worth a listen voixautre, very good headphone music.

  8. spaceman73, I'm downloading it now (very slow though). Thanks for letting me know about it- looking forward to hearing it

  9. A surprise post in this series.

    I've got it on a cd but its ages since I heard it...

  10. Hi Lon, I thought I would branch out a bit. The last part of this series (#s 10-15) will be amazing :)

  11. Thanks for another great post in the series. Quite surprising I must say, but fits in very well. Can't wait for what's coming next (not to mention the entire Tim Buckley series). :)

    However, I'm not entirely convinced that "Hex" gave birth to what we label as "post-rock" nowadays. Simon Reynolds of course coined the term in context of this album, but I've always had the impression that the honor should go to both "Laughing Stock" (for its rich instrumentaion, original melodies, emotional expression, heavenly vocals and otherwordly atmosphere) and "Spiderland" (for its raw energy, intelligent noise-making and excellent sonic experimentation). I agree though that "Hex" is still great and very innovative in its own ways.

  12. Hi Michael, thanks for the great comment. I didn't actually say "Hex" gave birth to Post-Rock; what I actually said was that it's release gave rise to this type of music being labeled with a generic name. It's both a honor and a curse

  13. My apologies for this misuderstanding, voixautre. If you see it this way, then I'm in complete agreement with you.

  14. Michael, I think we're on the same page here :)

  15. this ia a beautiful album.i like it.ciao nice blog!

  16. Post-Rock has been around since as early as the 1970s, to be honest. Songs like "He Loved Him Madly" and "Father Cannot Yell" are what gave birth to Post-Rock.

  17. Anon., thank you and also thanks for the link :)

  18. summer freeze, well, just to clarify, I never said Bark Psychosis was the first band to deviate from traditional song structure and to put more emphasis on dynamics in their arrangements, all I did say (and it's true) is that "Hex" gave birth to the label "Post-Rock." Previous to this album, there wasn't a separate genre for this type of thing. One could argue that its roots extend as far back as the sixties

  19. Yes, I saw that, I'm sorry if I came off a little harsh. I wasn't arguing against your point either, to be fair, it was more of a response to Michael's post, and an attempt at getting people to know some of the most amazing and creative songs of all time.

    Thanks for the great post, by the way, I love early Bark Psychosis.

  20. summer freeze, no problem. I probably should have worded the review a little more straightforwardly because many critics do act like post-rock somehow materialized in 92-94. I agree with you that its roots extended much further back. Now that I think about it, exploring these roots could make for an interesting series at some point :)


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