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No talk of (Chris) Clark can avoid mention of 2006’s Body Riddle – his third long player and a modern electronica ‘perfect storm’, managing to sate the appetites of both the digital hi-fi kidz and the notoriously picky bearded purists with its delicate sample constructs and melancholy android melodies. Heavily indebted to the scene royalty of labelmates Autechre, Aphex, Plaid and the like, as good as it was its virtues still relied heavily on a familiar basis. A high-grade homage, Leone’s A Fist Full Of Dollars to Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. It is also I might add, very good.

His work since (2008’s Turning Dragon and this year’s Growls Garden EP) suggests an artist enamored with the ensuing success and live schedule that followed. Thick riffs and dancefloor elation worked themselves in amongst the gourmet distortion and more conventional breakdown/drop structures begun to replace the choppy edits, to the point where undeniable album highlight ‘Growls Garden’ (which is brooding synth-pop more than tasteful IDM) gets played by posh-trance doyen and Border Community label boss James Holden.

Better quality…

The above track is a triumph, its thumping midsection echoes the glorious crunch of gallic Ed Bangers Justice and requires mandatory air-punching. It also sees Clark follow fellow electronic virtuosos Cursor Miner and Tim Exile behind the microphone for the first time to complete a dark-wave anthem with more grandeur and pathos than the former and a hella more direct, physical appeal than the sometimes obtuse lab-coat boffinery of the latter.

The rest fades into a pleasant, sometimes impressive yet faintly directionless haze of classic acid warbling and fuzzed-out textures that feel included more out of compulsion than joy. Nothing else quite possesses the brio of the above track or exhibits the excitement he obviously felt crafting it. I urge Clark to continue extricating himself from the massive influence the 90s still has on electronica and plow full-steam ahead with his new identity as some sort of grand, gothic slayer of twee inanity.

For the moment get Body Riddle and Growls Garden EP, then wait.

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