RECORDS / New releases

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The Independent Culture
Bark Psychosis: Hex (Circa, CD/LP/tape). Alongside the electronic vistas of ambient house, another revolution is rippling through the indie fishpond. Bark Psychosis have followed a typical trajectory: from noise extremism (hence the name) to radiant psychedelia and now, on Hex, a loose minimalism. Songs are stretched in length and texture, with piano and guitar chords allowed to hang and echo alone, or float on currents of dub bass and swinging cymbals. But it's not all low key. 'Eyes & Smiles' builds to a great crest of guitar peals and Miles Davis-style trumpet trills. Hex's ambience is as often foreboding as blissful, although by the closing 'Pendulum Man' the band seem to have absconded altogether, leaving their instruments echoing beautifully in the studio. Andy Beckett

Nielsen: Clarinet & Flute Concertos. Swedish RSO/Salonen (Sony, CD only). Esa-Pekka Salonen's series of Nielsen recordings has been uneven but capable, occasionally, of real insight - as is the case here. The solo clarinet (Hakan Rosengren) isn't as incisive as it might be (Benny Goodman on my old and, alas, no longer current RCA disc with the Chicago SO is unbeatable), but he is musical; and so is the flautist Per Flemstrom. With a lovingly cosseted performance of the cantata Springtime on Funen and the Act II Prelude to Saul and David as generous fillers, it makes a good Nielsen compendium issue, stylishly put together. Michael White