Bark Psy­chosis



Hex is the al­bum that the term post-rock was in­vented for. As Si­mon Reynolds (the critic who coined the term) had it, post-rock was about us­ing rock in­stru­men­ta­tion for non-rock pur­poses, us­ing gui­tars as fa­cil­i­ta­tors of tim­bre and tex­tures rather than riffs and power chords.

And so it is on Hex: the seven tracks con­tained on this 1994 al­bum may come to oc­ca­sional stops and re­frains, the vo­cals whis­pered/lul­la­bied like a bevy of sad­dened, friend­less Talk Talk and AR Kane fans, but through­out there is a de­ter­mi­na­tion not to be weighed down by heed­less ex­pec­ta­tion: this mu­sic, while sym­phonic in struc­ture, ex­ists within the mo­ment and the mo­ment alone. Mo­ments like the crys­talline tum­bles of sound wash­ing across the mid­dle sec­tion of Ab­sent Friend feel both haunt­ing and cap­ti­vat­ing: an over­coat of rock in­stru­men­ta­tion per­haps, but with the feel and lin­eage of am­bi­ent dance mu­sic or a Philip Glass. Or even Mike Old­field’s Tubu­lar Bells.

Through­out the en­tirety of

Hex, the mood cap­tured is one of rain-splashed, neon-re­flect­ing de­serted city streets: down but not de­pressed. Ur­ban an­guish.

A di­rect line can be traced be­tween the spell­bound me­an­der­ing mes­meris­ing mu­sic here back to the roots of avant­garde elec­tron­ica, min­i­mal­ist clas­si­cal and 1980s synth-pop, and for­ward to bands such as Sigur Rós, God­speed You! Black Em­peror, Mog­wai and Tor­toise (among many oth­ers).

Hex was Bark Psy­chosis’s fi­nal mo­ment (and de­but al­bum): although the band dis­in­te­grated soon af­ter­wards. The mark they left is in­deli­ble.

everett True

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