Clark — ‘Death Peak’

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It is around a decade since Chris Clark came into his own, beginning to plot his unique furrow of sound after those first couple of quite Warp-esque if un-enlightening albums.

‘Death Peak’ is less reinvention, more an update on the Clark sound. To these ears, and with the aid of song titles like 10-minute closer Un U.K, and Catastrophe Anthem, the record can be seen as post Brexit techno; a constant battle to avoid cliffs-edge as a result of miss information and dangerous games gone too far. Putting a brave face on, hoping, against the odds, that the cards fall in the right(ish) place are, for the most part, not really options here; this is face the reality stuff, surveying the wreckage occurring slowly but surely before your very eyes.

Early album standouts, Butterfly Prowler, and Peak Magnetic, are body movin’, sure, but, in typical Clark style, both tracks are anxious, darkly cinematic, curiously building. The aforementioned Catastrophe Anthem, meanwhile, is aided by the soundings of a girls choir holding the notes in the cold air, as imbalanced synth and stop-start murky drone crawls and hovers with an almost frightening presence.

Which brings us to Un U.K. By comparison the air is much clearer here, at least at the beginning; an arpeggio of sunny notes– almost Four Tet like– giving way to cut-up female voice as if experiencing the oncoming of inner turmoil/confusion. Then there’s a break down, as things get a touch claustrophobic and bordering on sound-art. The last four minutes of the track (it seems to be in three parts) become rather lovely again; like an electronic opera of hope– praise be!– amid sky-high leaning, that recalls Oneohtrix Point Never. A triumph.

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