Saturday, September 23, 2006

Feasting On The Innards Of A Gutted Johnny Borrell

Clark - Vengeance Drools

Remember back in 1990 when the NME was the indiest of all the inkies, they put Leeds’ bleep pioneers LFO on the cover, smashing guitars to pieces? Well, it’s a poxy old comic these days, but it could go some way to redeeming itself by reprising that scenario, but this time with Clark as the agitator, perhaps feasting on the innards of a gutted Johnny Borrell, or dining on the brains of a Kook or two. I’m not bothered what, let’s just have some gory visual representation of another triumph for a forward-thinking electronic producer over redundant meat and two veg indie guitar nonsense.

Clark’s third album ‘Body Riddle’, released by Warp Records on October 2nd, is just that – a triumph; a marvellously satisfying collection of songs of depth, beauty and no little menace. While listening to the album, I had this vision of Clark as a man sitting on a trunk filled to bursting with roaring monsters and howling demons, struggling to keep the lid on what would be a cacophony of unholy noise were he to relinquish control and set them free. Like all the greatest sonic innovators, Clark is not afraid of noise. He understands and nurtures it, taming unruly distortion and frequencies so they behave and play nicely with twinkling melodies and mangled rhythms, resulting in tracks like ‘Herr Barr’ and ‘The Autumnal Crash’, which open and close the 11-track album.

Clark does a nice line in straightforward head-nodding machine funk, on ‘Ted’ and the brilliantly-named ‘Vengeance Drools’, yet wields a subtler touch with the celestial glockenspiel symphony ‘Night Knuckles’, and a couple of short melodic interludes (‘Dew on the Mouth’ and ‘Springtime Epigram’). ‘Matthew Unburdened’ is a woozy ballroom polka with antique pianos, while ‘Roulette Thrift Run’ is more indicative of his earlier work, all playful beat trickery and distorted jazzy flourishes. Though it is ‘Herzog’ that is perhaps most astounding of all - driven by ticking percussion, swarms of analogue synths swirl and merge with dismembered vocals, creating a prog-electronic stew of stunning originality.

Clark is a man on fire – there are three exclusive free tracks to download from the ‘Body Riddle’ microsite. He is also set to appear live at a Warp Records party in Leeds, on October 13th alongside LFO and Plaid. Tickets are available here.

Preorder ‘Body Riddle’ from Warp Records and get a free 3” CD entitled ‘Throttle Clarence’ (limited to only 750 copies) containing 20 minutes of exclusive Clark material.
Buy Clark back catalogue from Warp Mart
Microsite for previous album ‘Empty The Bones Of You’, featuring a biography here
Microsite for debut album ‘Clarence Park’ here
Clark at My Space