198

Bark!: Contraption

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Bark!: Contraption Recorded in 2004, this is only the second album from Bark! even though they have been around since 1991 [Their first album was Swing (Matchless, 1999)]. Guitarist Rex Casswell used to be in Stock, Hausen & Walkman, and there are plenty of points on this album that echo SH&W's absurdist humor. The guitar is not deployed to produce recognizable guitar sounds, but more as a source of electronic sounds that are frequently indistinguishable from Paul Obermeyer's sound samples.

Sometimes the hints of humor are triggered by surreal samples from Obermeyer (who is also, rather incestuously, a member of Psi stablemates Furt). "Gyre" is particularly noteworthy for encompassing a range of suggestive sounds. None are specifically identifiable, but many could pass as sound effects from a Looney Tunes cartoon, giving the piece its own distinctive sense of drama. There is a reason that Bark! ends with that exclamation mark.

The trio is completed by Phillip Marks, whose percussion work shapes everything and holds it together. His drumming drives the music along and gives it its pulse—enough indeed for the Psi publicity to describe it as "James Brown meets the spirit of Modernism!," not a phrase often attributed to improvised music. On "Below Zero," Marks is particularly prominent, combining with low frequency electric pulses to produce a complex but compelling rhythm pattern. Even on a track such as "Mr Pointy," where Casswell and Obermeyer combine to produce a maelstrom of sound, Marks gives the piece real momentum.

The musical conversation between the three players is intense and highly concentrated. The end result has an architectural sense of structure to it as well as being great fun to listen to.


Track Listing: Polaris; It's A Life; Gyre; Snout; The Diver; Below Zero; Spanners; Mr Pointy; Decompression.

Personnel: Rex Casswell: electric guitar; Phillip Marks: percussion; Paul Obermayer: sampler.

Title: Contraption | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Psi


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio" CD/LP/Track Review One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Outside The Comfort Zone" CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Another Day in Fucking Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Another Day in Fucking Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "The Company I Keep" CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.