Thursday, 5 April 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #127 - Clark, "Iradelphic"

Not heard a Clark album for a while. Not since his 2003 album, I think, when he was called Chris Clark. Seem to be hearing a lot of 2003 music at the minute. That was a crunching, gritty taste of IDM that was. But Warp have moved into other directions since those days - starting with that festering wound of a man, Vincent Gallo: more acoustic guitar realms, fewer bleeps than in the halcyon days of Tricky Disco.

The album opens with a touch of the finger/string interaction. "Henderson Wrench" might be based on a mishearing of the Sheffield condiment, Henderson's Relish, what with Warp being in Sheffield and all. I'm not too worried about the layering of frets either way. "Com Touch" is a bit more like what I had in mind - a carousel of electronic noises, skittering up and down invisible ladders with soft pulses and a sense of soaring. Then a bit of crunch, just like back in 2003. Ah, 2003. The world was a less internety place then.

"Tooth Moves" is haunted by a keytar Phantom of the Opera, messy and heartfelt writhing all over the top. I like it. "Skyward Bruise/Descent" sounds exactly as European and grey and complicated as you might think from the title. "Open" has a wheezy start before some of it gets bigger and some of it gets smaller - a theme to a spy thriller in which there is some genuine romance and careful bookkeeping. There are some lyrics about ebbing and flowing, if I hear correctly. And I rarely do. And when I do, I usually remember wrongly. So...

"Secret" could be sisters with a few of the track's on Portishead's "Dummy". That sense of espionage again. Perhaps it's because it was recorded in part in Berlin. The city must've absorbed so many Cold War vibes over the years that the concrete leaks out that CIA shit in the background radiation. "Ghosted" also shimmers darkly out from the walls, minced guitar and spooky brass-like noises. This is a spooky album. Some vocals pop up here as well - "And you're still here, still right here where I sleep/So why don't you just come back home." Spooky sense of an absent ex: we've all been there, right?

"Black Stone" has the air of a composer for motion picture movies, simple and gentle piano lines. "The Pining" is then in three parts: the first part opening the sound out. The second part is nimbler, more angry and more like a hornet than the first. I get a memory of John Craven's Newsround. Because of the venerable keyboards. It merges into the third track, then "Broken Kite Footage" rounds the album off with sounds a little like a choir percolated through various processes to sound like sunlight on a lake, but viewed from underneath the surface.

I think if I had more of a context to relate this album within, I might enjoy it more. No particular context in mind, but I suppose that's the problem.

Also: no real idea what "Iradelphic" might mean.

Rating: Crunch out of Cold War

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