05 October 2006

8+

“All Different Things" by Bark Psychosis which clocks in at 8:09

EAR FARM's 8+ is my weekly journey into music nerdom centering around one song longer than eight minutes. As I've said before, this is not only just for me to write and you to read. I welcome, and often directly invite, others to contribute to this feature. It helps bring to the table some songs you'd not otherwise see here and, most importantly, it opens up the 8+ so that we're getting more than just me here rambling on week in, week out. That's all to say that we've got another guest contributing this week, so I'd like everyone to give a nice big EAR FARM welcome to George from El Jezel. I'm very happy to have him be a part of EAR FARM's 8+ and the song he's chosen is excellent. Listen, read, and enjoy.

When Matt asked if I’d like to contribute an 8+ column I was flattered and more importantly, validated as a true music geek. After entertaining a host of potential songs, I returned to the group that I initially thought of the moment he asked me - Bark Psychosis.

I was first introduced to Bark Psychosis through my friend Randy who was helping me record some of my songs in his home studio. He made me a mixtape with an A side full of different bands while the B side was devoted entirely to Bark Psychosis. Unfortunately, I fell so hard for Side A (this pivotal 45 minutes of cassette tape introduced me to Slowdive and American Music Club), that I never really gave Side B much of a chance. The few times I checked it out I was a little turned off by the violent eruptions that would pull an otherwise pretty shoegazer melody off it’s track. And then there was the name, which evoked thoughts of either a terrible canine ailment or even worse, a shitty metal band.

Sure enough, Bark Psychosis originally formed in Snaresbrook, England as a Napalm Death cover band. They had just graduated from high school when they released their first single in 1988. Their second single, released the following year, was “All Different Things”.

Since that mixtape never grabbed my attention, a few years passed before I ended up giving Bark Psychosis another chance. As I perused an import markdown sale at an HMV record store I came across their album Independency for about $5. I happily snatched it up and took it home in hopes I would hear what Randy had raved about. I wish I could tell you about the amazing musical epiphany I had when I first listened to the album, but it didn’t really happen like that. I just remember playing it a lot, and then playing it a lot for my girlfriend Jessica, and then it becoming one of those albums we’d always put on late at night as we drifted off to sleep. And a few of those times I think I may have been startled awake by “All Different Things”.

Now how do I describe this song? Well, think reverb. Lots of reverb. Large oceans of it. Two guitars gently carve out a melody. A somber voice repeats the line “much rather be” over and over; these are the only lyrics in the entire song. The melody slowly morphs and goes from minor to major. The drummer is working the ride cymbal faster and faster, though in a restrained way. This is that moment that you live for in music, the sweet sense of anticipation. Something is changing, something is happening, but you’re damned if you know exactly what. And then suddenly…it happens. The whole band rears up and plunges into this ocean of reverb. This freezing cold ocean of reverb and I got to tell ya - fuck My Morning Jacket, this is where it’s at. This is heavy metal shoegaze craziness and I love it. The snare sounds like a cannon, and the guitars are crashing into rising waves, and it’s magical. They repeat this entire cycle once again and then the last couple minutes of the song degenerates into atmospheric instrument noise, a twisted coda to put it all to bed.

Since discovering this album, I’ve hunted down most of Bark Psychosis’ recorded output. The reunion album they did a couple years ago, the live tracks they recorded in an English cathedral, all but the Randy mixtape which has mysteriously vanished. The main reason I’m fascinated with this band is their ability to cover so much ground through dynamics. In fact, many of their songs break the eight minute mark, but not because they do eight parts of super crazy prog nonsense or obnoxious avant-garde tinged noise. They take a simple melody and explore it in every way possible. I like that. I hope you do too.
Thanks again to George for taking part in EAR FARM's 8+. I've never cared for the name Bark Psychosis but this song is fantastic. And, strangely, over too darn soon in my opinion.

Independency is not readily available but you can find this song elsewhere...buy Game Over HERE on Amazon.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Aarktica - “Song For A Free Williamsburg”
Bob Marley & The Wailers - “Exodus” (1984 12" Mix)
Charalambides - “Two Birds"
Explosions In The Sky - "Memorial"
Rush - “2112"
Love and Rockets - “Haunted When the Minutes Drag"
Suede - “The Asphalt World"
!!! - ““Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (a true story)""

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

12 comments:

d said...

I've never heard of this band! I guess I'm less of a music nerd than I thought...hmmm.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting, the subject of band names. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead evokes death metal to me, and they're far from it. I probably wouldn't have eagerly searched out these guys if it hadn't been for George. But I discovered that I like a little psychotic barking at bedtime.
~jess

Anonymous said...

i've not heard of this band either but it sounds like mogwai or something. pretty cool.

george said...

And this was recorded in 1989!

Matt said...

yeah for real. I must confess to avoiding this band, despite this one record store clerk in Raleigh constantly saying I should check them out, because of my issues with the name. that they recorded this song in 1989 is nutso. birth of "post-rock"?

Marta said...

yeah jorge yeah 1989

Anonymous said...

probably best band ever

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