Clarence Park (Warp, 2001) by English electronic musician Chris Clark provided
a diligent summary of English electronica of the previous decade
(Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Autechre, etc),
whose short instrumental pieces ran the gamut
from ambient music to glitch music and to drum'n'bass and to synth-pop etc.
The albums parades the
distorted, frenzied, hard-rocking The Dogs,
the swirling machine music of Proper Lofi,
the syncopated minimalism of Bricks,
the dramatic, narrative A Laugh With Hills,
the brief comic skit The Chase,
and especially the childish melodic vignette Lord Of The Dance.
Clark's versatility is impressive,
but he rarely combines multiple styles in the same song.
Each one feels like a demonstration of what can be done with a particular
Empty the Bones of You (2003) was similarly eclectic but perhaps
a bit too technical;
If the first album had been background muzak for the glitch generation,
this one was a technical demo for the glitch practitioners.
Clark excels at
polyrhythmic fests like Indigo Optimus and Gob Coitus (that ends with a tender carillon),
at sophisticated ambient-jazz soundscapes like Empty the Bones of You and Umbilical Hut
and at delicate rhythmic filigrees like Wolf; but the highlights might
be the quietly melodic Slow Spines and Farewell Track,
or the cosmic nightmare of Betty, that seems to belong to a different
However, the stylistic puzzle of Body Riddle (2006), returning to a
more humane dimension, upped the ante of IDM with
the fractured rhythm and xylophone of Herr Bar,
the moving aria of Frau Wav,
the anthemic progression of Herzog,
the pounding enthusiasm of Ted,
the industrial gothic dance of Vengeance Drools,
the frantic, hammering, music-box lullaby Night Knuckles,
the thundering crescendo of The Autumnal Crush,
and especially the acrobatic syncopated locomotive dance of Roulette Thrift Run.
Turning Dragon (2008) aimed squarely for the dancefloor and
Totems Flare (Warp, 2009) tried to diversify into ambient house,
breakcore (Rainbow Voodoo) and
electroclash (and even singing in Growls Garden).
Iradelphic (2012) and Clark (2014) were uneventful.
His best material of this period probably came out on
the mini-album Fantasm Planes (2012),
the single Superscope (2014),
and the four-song EP Flame Rave (2015), with the seven-minute
To Live And Die In Grantham.
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