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Delirious With Weird

Sunday, June 06, 2004  
It's 3am, Don't Know Where We're Going

How to write about this record I have been waiting two years and a decade to hear? How to deal with it without sounding like the bumbling fanboy? Is it magical? Is it better than Hex? Can I justify trying to get away with that pun?

I’m finding it very easy to listen to this record right now. Over the course of the last year I‘ve become familiar with the contours of most of its songs, as Graham Sutton has seen fit to leak them onto slsk a handful at a time for a few minutes, “to see what happens”. What happened was a focused frenzy, a flurry of faking, a bizarre amalgam of rare BP tracks, Boymerang moments and unmastered new material fobbed off as the album. Four tracks I’ve had since last August, two more since this March, the other since the end of April, the final one a snippet of something else to throw people off.

And yet, on Tuesday morning (perfect timing, C; I had the day off!) when the brown Jiffy bag got trapped in the letterbox and spent ten minutes hanging suspended above the doormat while I fed the cat, when I finally got to take it upstairs and load it into the Marantz and open it up, I was still surprised… Not just by clarity (the first thing MP3s lose is the space between the notes and rhythms, and one of the key ingredients in BP’s music since the start is space; there is, at times, a lot of space in ///Codename: Dustsucker), not just by scope, but by flow and sense. Separately the new tracks were intriguing, with moments of extreme beauty and/or awe/terror/magic, but they made no sense, I couldn’t see the joins, didn’t understand where, after ten years, this music was coming from, what its purpose was.

I’m not saying I do now, but…

Vapour trails of distant airplanes turning orange in the sunset, a smear of royal umber bruise. Universes appear within your iris, tremulous rumbles consume miniscule worlds. Glass and metal are pushed beyond physical limits, bend and break. Bark peels like skin from trees. Points of water evaporate under immense heat. Whispers drown out coils of industrial noise. Forward motion is reversed and progresses faster.

After nine months of negotiations and missed phone calls and busy weekends and delays (and Delays) and mixing and mastering and writing new songs, I’m finally at a point (once I’ve written this and formulated thoughts and realigned questions and fully soaked in Dustsucker and thought some more) where I can interview Graham for Stylus and find out how and why, why now, why this, what does it mean?

When I mentioned on ILM that this had arrived, Jess said he was afraid of hearing it, and I was too. TEN YEARS! Remember that scene in Grosse Point Blank when Jeremy Piven screams those two words over and over again at Cussack? TEN YEARS! It’s a long time. And no, Bark Psychosis haven’t broken any new ground. This isn’t a hip hop record or a dancehall record or a modern schizotechdancepop record. It’s Bark Psychosis, accelerated through ten years. Bark Psychosis where Graham Sutton earns a living (?) as a producer and engineer for other people and collaborates with a circle of musicians to make his own music rather than playing in a band. A new Bark Psychosis record. At one point there’s some melodica. At another there’s an unexpected 303 line. There are also acoustic guitars and female vocals and piano interludes and strange references to Chris Morris and sheets of gorgeous noise and moments of musical pointillism so acute that you almost faint.

A proper review in another 6 weeks or so.


6/06/2004 12:33:00 am


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005