Monday, January 17, 2011

Clark - Body Riddle

Warp Records can be used as a sort of windsock for experimental electronica.  They've got all the (relatively) big names: Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, Squarepusher, Flying Lotus, Seefeel, if you've heard of IDM at all, you've probably heard of these guys.  They also host the smaller names, like Clark.

I have a lot to say about this guy, so it's likely I'll be splitting it up into multiple posts.

Chris Clark, who just goes by Clark nowadays to avoid confusion, has no problem with flip-flopping between moods like there's no tomorrow.  Some of his songs are sweeping, majestic journeys through layered synth lines that transport you to another, throughly alien world, while others are slow and quiet, conveying a sense of menace and creeping horror that makes them unique.

Clark's put out a number of EP's and LP's, but I'm just going to be talking about three: Body Riddle, Empty The Bones Of You, and Totems Flare, as those are the ones that jump out the most for me.  I'll probably touch on his other albums a bit.  Let's start with Body Riddle.

Describing Body Riddle is difficult.  Some of the songs, such as the high-spirited glockenspiel-driven "Night Knuckles", and the overwhelming, chaotic dance number "Ted" approach normal music.  However, other songs are indescribably weird.

"Roulette Thrift Run" has a squealing, disturbingly organic synth line that sounds like an octupus is randomly hitting the keys, a what could be an 8-year old humming a completely different song.  It's not the quite pure sonic experimentation of artists like Aphex Twin, but very close.

Other songs are marginally more sane.  "Herzog" is an excellently-crafted sweeping epic that's mostly percussion free, "Frau Wav" is what sounds like a jazz-meets-orchestral track with the drummer going nuts on the drums, and "Dew On The Mouth" and "Springtime Epigram" both make quiet interludes between the madness.

To be continued, or whatever.

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