CLARK: Growls Garden (Warp Records)


Posted on Mar 3rd 2009 09:28 pm

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Clark: Growls Garden

Growls Garden
Warp Records 2009
06 Tracks. 25mins18secs
Format: 12″/CD/Digital

Icon: arrow Buy: CD

Warp’s enfant terrible returns with another devastating slice of dirty gritty electronic music. Follow up to last year’s Turning Dragon, his most upbeat record to date, Growls Garden ups the ante once again as Clark launches another digital assault on the dance floor. Counting six tracks and clocking just over the twenty five minute mark, this EP is perhaps Clark’s most eclectic release since Clarence Park, as he revisits the dark hues of Empty The Bones Of You or Body Riddle (Growls Garden, Distant Father Torch), and, as he did with Turning Dragon, cuts some fine body-jerking grooves and harsh beats (Seaweed, Gonk Roughage).

The title track is also the first to carry the man’s voice, albeit heavily twisted and processed. Written in a matter of days, filling a gap during the recording of Clark’s next album, Growls Garden, Seaweed and Distant Father Torch have the urgency and angularity of true Clark monsters; rough around the edges, heavy footed, corrosive. Elsewhere, The Magnet Mine appears more complex and tortured, with multiple layers fighting for attention, while Gonk Roughage, once again using Clark’s voice as part of its structure, sounds like a nasty 12-rounder down a back alley. Only Farewell Mining Town, with its dense ambient sound waves, shows a hint of gentle elegance here and brings this EP to a surprisingly atmospheric end.

A true Warp stalwart in the great tradition of Aphex, Autechre or Squarepusher, Clark delivers another might blow with this latest EP. Whether this is in any way shape or form representative of his next album is anybody’s guess, but Growls Garden has too much to offer for it to matter at all.


Icon: arrow Clark (MySpace) | Warp Records
Icon: arrow Buy: CD

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Comments (7)

7 Responses to “CLARK: Growls Garden (Warp Records)”

  1. rRineon 24 Mar 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Great review!! I have been following Clark’s releases religiously since Clarence Park. Growls Garden is brilliant.

  2. Nico Kon 25 Apr 2009 at 8:10 am

    Absolutely! I just have to agree with my fellow replier.
    Clark’s music is lively, exciting and evolving.
    Can’t wait to hear what he’ll take out of his sleeves in the future!

  3. themilkmanon 26 Apr 2009 at 3:47 pm

    He’s certainly proving to be Warp’s best asset at the moment. As you pointed out Nico, he keeps on evolving while maintaining his identity, and he keeps on delivering I think. And, he gets new stuff out on a pretty regular basis, which is really good to see against the likes of Aphex, BoC or Autechre who are much more frugal in their releases.

  4. Davidon 23 May 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Is it me or is Distant Father Torch an amazing piece? Well ahead of the rest of the EP, it’s got the brilliance of Herzog plus those off kilter beats. Perfect

  5. themilkmanon 26 May 2009 at 12:54 am

    It is a pretty tight track, but I think the whole EP really holds up really well. That’s what I like about his stuff, somehow his records manage to be pretty consistent and consistantly good, if this make sense. I’m really looking forward to hear the new album.

  6. Davidon 01 Jun 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Don’t forget to check out the album sampler on, part 1 is available now..

  7. Fredon 14 Jun 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I have to begin by saying that for the past 3 or 4 years, Clark’s releases are probably my most anticipated ones. I’m never able to resist the need to download leaked versions but always end up buying the official disc releases from Warp. I will also admit that from listening to Totems Flare’s album sampler parts I felt somewhat disappointed – I also got that feeling when listening to Turning Dragon’s samples. At the time, it sounded as if Clark was following Jackson and His Computer Band magic tricks – how wrong can one be.
    Despite all my initial doubts regarding Totems Flare (also promoted by the Growls Garden EP that to me sounded unfocused), I can now say that his producer never ceases to amaze me with the energy, creativity and pure joy his music beams. At a time when Squarepusher and Aphex Twin are trying too hard not to be themselves (probably because they feel Clark has won them at their own game and house), Clark follows their legacy respectfully but with a perspective for the future, pushing boundaries and feeling new and never abstractly experimental just for the sake of sounding dissident and unapproachable. I have long lost the notion of impartiality with his releases because with his album tracks I always get the feeling of “this is it; he has done it again.” It’s probably a question of personal sensibility, but to me everything sounds so perfectly tweaked, arranged and designed that I imagine myself hugging the guy and saying “I’m proud of you, kid” – like a dad to his kid after a sports match or a piano interpretation of Ligeti.
    Totems Flare, being part of a trilogy, follows the same kind of emotional roller coaster narrative proposed by Body Riddle and Turning Dragon. The three albums are clearly divided into two parts: the first being exhilarating, extroverted and in-your face, while the second one tends to be melancholically desperate, almost as if Clark surrenders to a personal and recurring nostalgic intimacy that he explicitly shares – and suffers immensely along the way. The passionate capsule constructed with Talis, Suns of Temper and Absence is now part of a defining moments history book of Warp Records, representing a vivid and life full canvas of what the label has brought to the world of modern music – in the same way the extensive fade out dusty sea of synth grains on The Autumnal Crush finalized Body Riddle and the reverberation of the piano break on Penultimate Persian marked Turning Dragon’s sensitive approach to melodic patterns.
    There is no need to go for a track by track approach when analyzing this album, as everything is arranged, mixed and produced with such genius that my only wish is that somehow Rainbow Voodoo finds some crack on the more mainstream groups and becomes a wider bridge so that people can hear the incomparable elaborated ideas of a musician that deserves all the possible recognition.

    I’m proud of you, man.