Clark – Clark (Album Review)

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Chris Clark is a name synonymous with the British techno scene and he continues to be a flag bearer for the future funk theory of the genre’s 80s pioneers. With this his new album for Warp, his eighth in total, he continues the forward thinking momentum his version of electronic music has always had.

Fourteen years since he debuted on Warp, Clark can now rightly be seen as a one of our most vital musicians and this long relationship with a label also at the centre of electronic musical innovation has surely been utterly essential to both parties.

Clark is like stepping into the darkest room of your favourite club just as the best artist of the night has stepped on stage as it unwinds with such variety on one hand, but with a completeness that marks true album artists out amongst the one-track/EP lead culture of most club music. Opening with a growling, menacing touch-down of a track called Ship Is Flooding which sounds as if it has been spewed from the engine room of an intergalactic spacecraft before segueing into Winter Linn which is a slow-paced throbber that drops deep and low. Up next is Unfurla with classic Detroit pads over overlaid with psychedelic infused keys that filter in and out over subtle yet driving beat before a menacing attack late on from another synth.

Strength Through Fragility is imbued with emotion and showcases Clark’s accomplished musicianship. Sodium Trimmers thunders in next, hinting at a full-on work out but restraining itself until two minutes in when the storm breaks. Next up Banjo is proper bonkers, spitting and hissing without a hint of country that the title suggests – it’s okay, Clark hasn’t decided to delve into Nashville yet. The insanity continues with Snowbird, possibly hinting at a wintery theme…in another world this is Christmas number one and Simon Cowell begs on the streets whilst Farage steals all his meths supply.

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The beats return for Grit In The Pearl which skips along until the final minute when it has had enough and it sticks it’s head down a hole and refuses to come out. Luckily Beacon pops up to take over and does a great impression of a huge storm cloud passing overhead at a furious pace before the sunshine warms you in the final minute. There’s a short moment of Vangelis-inspired skyscraping before a final bass assault from Silvered Iris which breaks down rather brilliantly at the end to allow There’s A Distance In You to bounce it’s hyperactive gas-smashed squeaky toys in to takeover. After all that you need Everlane’s floatiness to allow you have a little lie down before you face the world again.

Clark allows us a delightful fifty minutes or so into the mind of a proper electronic mindbender. Don’t miss out.

Clark – Clark is out now on CD/LP/Digital via Warp Records and you can get hold of it ideally through Bleep or any other independent record store.

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