There’s always been a sense of anonymity surrounding Clark. The Warp stalwart, despite now being on his eighth full-length, has never really garnered the same level of character inspection or curiosity as Aphex, say, or Autechre. On the cover of this eponymous LP is a forward-facing shot of Clark all in black, his face obscured by a material. Which feels apt for this unassuming master of textural collage – his craft the main focus of everything.
The deep descent into winter has been a fitting time for this album’s release (and Clark recently admitted that he kept missing Warp’s deadline so as to have it out in November). Nevertheless, entering his frostbitten world can be a challenge at times, although to this writer this album also represents some of his most accessible work to date. His soundscapes contain lush yet incredibly tough textures, but we see a producer also at his raviest and most danceable.
If you were expecting more of 2012’s jazzy and psychedelic ‘Fantasm Planes’, then you’ll be (pleasantly) surprised. Here, slabs of no-nonsense techno are sledgehammered by moments of tender, arpeggiated synths and icy melodies. Permeating this tech-heavy set are orchestral, classical touches, though not in an irritatingly shoehorned-in way. ‘Snowbird’ revolves around a swooping vocal line while the steely, marching rhythm of ‘Silvered Iris’ is underpinned by a playful melody. The beautiful ‘Unfurla’ wraps you round its little finger, a steadily building tech-house number.
Fragile yet utterly destructive, this wolf in sheep’s clothing will hurl you five ways and leave you hovering over a bleak abyss. In a great way, obviously.
Words: Felicity Martin
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