CLARK: Iradelphic (Warp Records)


Posted on Mar 27th 2012 01:38 am

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Clark: Iradelphic

Warp Records 2012
12 Tracks. 39mins53secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

It has been over three years since Christopher Stephen Clark last carved a hefty slice of electronic music for Warp. Following the lush abstract feasts that were Empty The Bones Of You and Body Riddle, Clark, having moved to Berlin, descended on the dance floor with his following two album, Turning Dragon and Totems Flare and smeared his heavily distorted electro-infused techno all over it, claiming once and for all his share of the club scene.

It is a very different Clark who is at the helm of Iradelphic. Ditching heavy-footed beats and hyper-active distorted electronics in favour of much more nuanced soundscapes, Chris Clark looks out towards the world and absorbs a rich palette of psychedelic hues, at times sparked by surprising folk effusions, as on album opener Henderson Wrench or on the warm and luxurious Tooth Moves, which echoes Campfire Headphase-era Boards Of Canada, at others entirely reliant on bold kaleidoscopic electronics (Skyward Bruise/Descent, Broken Kite Footage). Folk also informs part of Open and Secret, Clark’s most daring foray into pop music yet, the latter even earning him record of the week recently on the BBC Radio 6 Breakfast Show. Both tracks feature the highly recognisable smokey tones of former Tricky collaborator Martina Topley-Bird who finds here a suitably oblique and playful ground.

Clark’s sound has always relied on heavily electronic textures, even when, toward the end of the nineties, the IDM tag was being rejected by pretty much the entire electronic community, and, if he uses acoustic guitars or reacquaints himself with a piano on Black Stone, his unashamedly electronic approach remains firmly at the core of his music. Here though, he adapts it to take on much more diverse shapes, from the dreamy sequences of Com Touch and the coarser textures of Skyward Bruise/Descent to the much smoother and pastoral Broken Kite Footage. On the ambitious three-parter The Pining, Clark opts for much warmer and rounder sound sources, into which he blends in some fragments of acoustic guitar, even using a short looped guitar motif to drive portions of Pt. 2 as a vocal melody circles over it, whilst the more purely electronic shimmering sequence of Pt. 3 is particularly refined and elegant in a way which Clark had, until now, rarely demonstrated.

Clark’s most eclectic record to date, Iradelphic remains surprisingly consistent all the way through. Whilst he experiments with a much richer and varied sound palette than on pretty much any of this records, apart perhaps for Clarence Park, he amalgamates it all with his typical flair and renders it in a way only he can. Clark has become one of Warp’s main electronic artists almost in spite of himself, and this album, his best and most consistent since Body Riddle, perhaps even his best to date, shows just how he has matured as an artist whilst remaining totally unpredictable and totally brilliant.


Clark | Warp Records
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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Comments (3)

3 Responses to “CLARK: Iradelphic (Warp Records)”

  1. Davidon 06 Apr 2012 at 4:15 am

    Here’s my take on this album:

    Henderson Touch: Tame

    Com Touch: Good track, this is what Clark should be doing, not vocals

    Tooth moves: The interesting part is a Christ. rip off

    SkyWard Bruise/Descent: Poor man’s version of Herzog on Body Riddle

    Open: So so tedious and boring

    Secret: The first half of the track is ok, the second half is Broadcast wannabe

    Ghosted: Decent track, though he had to add some stupidly annoying vocals at the end

    Black Stone: Max Richter does it much better, but it’s good

    Pining 1: A promising beginning, doesn’t quite deliver, but it’s good

    Pining 2: At last some energy, great track

    Pining 3: Filler

    Broken Kite Footage: Real emotion, could have been Betty on Empty the bones of you

    Empty the bones of you was flawed and irregular, but had nerve and emotion. Despite all of Clark’s learning and maturing since then, half of this album is forgettable, and the other half is good, but not in a brilliant way.

  2. themilkmanon 07 Apr 2012 at 1:35 pm

    You’re pretty harsh I think there. I think he takes his sound somewhere new here and he does it well. The vocal tracks didn’t work on Tottem Flare, and are not that essential here, at least those he sings on, but they work much better. I like when he gets his electronics very gritty, but he tries other things here which also work. And I still thinks he’s one of Warp’s most interesting artist.

  3. Davidon 08 May 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I guess that it annoys me how this guy’s talent is being diluted by doing things that just aren’t his thing. I agree, despite my comments I look forward to everything Clark does more so than most of Warp’s artists. In fact, I think Warp has definitely taken a turn for the worse, down from the pioneering that made it special for me.