Creator: Jack Thorne.
Photographer: Stéphane Remael.
Clark's self-titled 2014 album, as well as the EPs surrounding it, found the producer gearing his music more toward the dancefloor than ever before, resulting in some of the most acclaimed work of his career to date. In 2015, he explored a new dimension of his sound when he was asked to compose the score for a six-part fictional crime drama mini-series based on the network of international jewel thieves known as the Pink Panthers. Produced by Warp Films, The Last Panthers premiered on European television networks in October and November of 2015, and while Clark's score was initially overshadowed by the presence of David Bowie's soon-to-be-released "Blackstar" as the series' theme song, Warp issued his music as a standalone album in 2016. While vastly different from any of Clark's previous recordings, the album exhibits his intense melodic flair as well as his knack for gripping tonal manipulations and sound design. As one might expect of the soundtrack to a dramatic thriller, much of the material here consists of sparse, haunting soundscapes with ominous pianos, strings, and occasionally choral vocals. Beats are present, but they're usually shifted way toward the background; sometimes they're so subtle that they're only audible on a good pair of headphones or a surround sound home theater system. Of course, it's pointless even to try listening to a recording like this on anything else, as it's meant to be an immersive experience. Clark's booming yet nuanced bass tones and rattling percussion are tense and thrilling while steering clear of overly dramatic clichés; there are rarely any moments when it feels like someone's jumping out at you with a knife. Instead, there's a load of simmering tension, with slowly rising distorted drones and eerie trudging sounds that occasionally boil over into abrasive noise. Most hair-raising of all is the soundtrack's longest piece, "Diamond Aren't Forever II," which opens with dissonant, manipulated string loops and eventually builds up to a cacophony of sour, swirling notes before stripping down to sad pianos and Theremin-like synth tones. The score is a thoroughly stunning work, showcasing Clark's versatility as a composer and producer, and providing a suspenseful, exciting listening experience. ~ Paul Simpson