Picked by Alan Morse Davies, Welsh composer based in Hong Kong who have been releasing music on his own At Sea label since 1981.
The most mysterious of all the first-generation UK post-rock bands.
Memorably, a poster on the I Love Music forum once voiced an opinion that the band was merely a figment of some Pitchfork’s writer’s imagination.
But Papa Sprain existed. The band was based in London but – as far as one can tell – all the members originally came from Belfast. They were proteges of dreampop legends A.R. Kane and released two E.P.s on their mentors’ H.ark! label. Additionally, they were very closely linked to Butterfly Child – also from Belfast, also involved with A.R. Kane.
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Bark Psychosis are not, even today, a name bandied about with abandon. Co-founder Graham Sutton – now better known as the producer of, amongst others, These New Puritans, Jarvis Cocker and British Sea Power – may have dusted off the identity for an album, ///Codename: Dustsucker, in 2004, and again for a limited edition, vinyl only remix of These New Puritans earlier this year, but the catalogue left behind by their original, vital incarnations is small: less than two dozen tracks. Nonetheless, these map out a brave journey of adventurous idealism that conflated minimalism and maximalism, from the incendiary noise of their disowned debut, 1988’s ‘Clawhammer’ (part of a split 7″ flexidisc), via the avant garde soundscapes of 1992’s ‘Scum’ single, and on to the cultured elegance of 1994’s Hex album.
See also – Bark Psychosis – Scum EP 12″ S/Sided (1992)
Earwig‘s sole proper album before the group mutated into Insides continued and perfected the clean, gripping minimalism of its earlier singles, polished to a tense, intriguing shine. Starting with the lengthy title track, Under My Skin arguably trumps what Stereolab was supposedly doing at the same time, namely marrying deceptively strong lyrics to a cool performance, vocally and musically. The key difference lies in the bands’ preferred musical approaches — while both have an affinity for minimalism in a pop context, Earwig aims for a more consciously “modern” approach, referring to the likes of Factory Records instead of Krautrock surge and snarl.
Read more on AllMusic
A.C. Marias was the name under which Wire collaborator Angela Conway released a number of records during the 1980s and early 1990s. She was assisted by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert on many releases. On the single “Time Was” and the album One Of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing) she was also assisted by other Mute Records musicians, including Barry Adamson(Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) and Rowland S. Howard (The Birthday Party). She and Bruce Gilbert composed additional music for the Anna Campion film Loaded, under the name A.C. Marias. Conway put the project on hold in 1990, and concentrated on her work as a music video director. Wikipedia