Clark is the act of one Chris Clark, a British producer who has apparently been releasing albums on Warp records for over 10 years now. I had never heard of this person before a promotional mailer touting his new, free to download EP, arrived in my inbox.
I think that Mr. Clark makes what the Brit kids are calling "Dubstep" these days. To be honest, i have been hearing that word for more than 2 years, so i am sure the English now call this style of music something different, and point out to the slight stylistic variation as being to key to what Clark is doing... The English insistence on changing genre names so often confounds me. The pint here: this may be dubstep, or whatever comes next. Who can tell?
Whatever. To the casual listener, such as you, our gentle readers, this is electronic music that is not too dancey and is a little dark and moody at the same time.
The Iradelphic Sessions is a follow-up to Clarks 2012 Warp Records release Iradelphic. I have never heard that record, and none of the song titles overlap, so if this EP consists of remixes or version of album material, Clark has completely renamed them.
The EP starts with a pulse of M83-ish keyboards in As the Circle Closes. You know, those kind of rich 1980s synth seem very common these days. Huh. Anyway, Clark eventually layers a guitar loop and a chugging beat over the synth drone. The overall effect is very nice, and reminds me a lot of that last Four Tet record.
A slightly different guitar loop is paired with some very sparse percussion in Soft Eruptor. This song has a casual party feel to it, like some guy is strumming an acoustic while a bunch of people dance lightly while holding maracas or shaky eggs. The song meanders like this for a while before erupting with booming synth sounds and that sort of dubsteppy half-mangled sampled voice, both of which overpower the festive guitarist and his percussionist friends. I like the transition here.
The next tune, MFB Skank is very percussion heavy, consisting mostly of layers of angry tapping sounds. Clark syncopates these sounds by looping them at different intervals and speeds, which makes for some very interesting patterns happening. Some interesting work here.
Clark gives us an ambient interlude in Fractal Dismembered, which is just over two minutes of a subtle wavering tone and some whooshing samples flying by. It is over quickly, and the guitar is back, here lightly tinkling and echoed in Guy Fawkes / Night Night. This is two and a half minutes of ambient guitar -- barely there at all, just lightly playing in the background.
Finally the free EP ends with Glenferrie Dust Track - Eden Oak Knock, which is a little more along the lines of what you think of as "dubstep", but still a little ambient at the same time as well. It uses that slow, sludgy shaking sound that dubstep artists seem to love, and layers slow grinding keys on top. It is nice enough, but at the end the dubstep recedes and the keyboards tinkle along like something on an old Tangerine Dream record, which is a very nice end to the record.
Overall, i am impressed. This is ambient, very contemporary, and rather interesting. I wonder what the rest of Clark's music sounds like?