Pitchfork (Website) - "45 minutes of vivid atmosphere and controlled chaos."
Recording information: Madison's Barn.
Photographers: Dmitry Mazurov; Tommy Nease.
As signaled by the March 2014 non-album single "Superscope," Chris Clark opted to turn sharply away from the oft-idyllic, sometimes pastoral sound of his 2012 album Iradelphic and its accompanying Fantasm Planes EP. The producer captioned a trailer for this, his seventh Warp album, with "More Berghain than Guggenheim," referencing Berlin's techno nerve center while alluding to his new material's dancefloor appeal. The majority of Clark indeed supplies numerous robust rhythms that are among his most physical and stimulating. At the same time, the producer applies singular touches, from unpredictable changes in course to treated field recordings -- including the sound of a chair scraping a factory floor and stomped snow -- that help yield the kind of depth and richness that typify so much of his previous output. Storming techno is dominant. "Unfurla" positively trucks with a steady four-four bass drum, racing keyboard patterns, and menacing drone-stabs. Around 4:15, with only a minute left, it thrusts into a higher gear to sensational effect -- not merely a steely jacking track with a whirlwind array of small details. The hard, buzzing electro-techno of "Banjo" partly recalls prime Drexciya, while "Winter Linn" deals out a dragging beat with submerged sprites. "Sodium Trimmers," a pummeling highlight, is another track that has one of the album's most memorable elements -- some kind of animalistic moan contorted into a threatening melody -- arise toward its conclusion. The smaller Guggenheim portion, served up in smaller doses, decreases the tension only slightly on Clark's most exhilarating work yet. ~ Andy Kellman