Clark Album Warp Records The Grit In The Pearl Unfurla
(*Introduction written by Kit Mauldin)
British beatmaker Chris Clark braved the New World last week to debut material drawn from his seventh full-length album, Clark, out November 3 on Warp Records. Following a brief appearance Wednesday at Low End Theory, Clark tailored a unique ambient set for Thursday’s performance at Griffith Park’s Greek Theater in support of the newly reactivated Massive Attack collective.

On each release, Clark makes a point to offset his tightly sequenced rhythmic compositions with gliding, textural work: great, weathered Norman arches of sound, framing wide and darkened hallways, fogged with the incense of mythic spirit.

Although the genre’s familiar devices – the purposefully insubstantial recording of classic Eno, the shapeless drift of the drone practitioners, or the sharpened, pulsing data of the digital minimalists – certainly inform these beatless passages, they are often far from textbook ambient. Organic and synthetic debris blow in on chilled air, pause in murky eddies created by their own accumulated weight, collecting in small parcels before passing along in continuous fluid movement. Eager but not anxious, patient but keen to be noticed; present, never passive.

Los Angeles correspondent Stephen Ruiz caught up with the artist en route to the states to pick his brain on his recent work habits and get the scoop on Phosphor, his new, visually rich live stage show.  Read the interview below as you watch a teaser of the Phosphor show and listen to the first two tracks shared from the Clark album, “The Grit In The Pearl” and “Unfurla.”  Pre-order is available now on iTunes.

What inspires you?

Fangs, bridges and forests.

What is the the process you usually go through when creating a new record, and specifically what did you do when recording Clark?

I recorded this one in voluntary enforced isolation, in the middle of nowhere, well, in the middle of English country side, in a barn. It took 4 months, I’d basically get up at 6:00 AM and work for 12 hours, read for 2 hours, then go for walks and try and freak myself out by standing next to trees and try and make out their form in the dark. I’m not a tree hugger, though.

I was really influenced by this amazing book called Annihilation by Jeff Vandemeer. That’s lots of eery natural/supernatural stuff that goes down in that book. It’s terrifying. The album zone became my Area X.

Your creative output overlaps with art, dance, film and video games. Do you think about other mediums when going into produced music?

Not really. music is my bag, it’s the endless pursuit, forever x 10000000 lifetimes. still a lot of work to do.

How would you describe your evolution as an artist? What have you discovered about yourself along the way?

I find it very hard to answer this question non-facetiously, I’m sorry. So here is my facetious answer.

I didn’t used to be into ice cubes as much, but I’ve evolved into a person that does.
I like different sorts of ice. I’m actually designing an ice cube machine that comes with a rubber mallet and different sized ends, it’s sort of like boutique tupperware, just waiting for the contractual/patent side of it to be confirmed.

What artist, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with, and why?

I’d love to have dinner with both John Coltrane and Bach, sort of set them off against each other “but he’d said this, John, don’t you think that’s wrong?” I reckon they’d end up being pretty good mates after a few sword fights. Bach was pretty handy, I reckon. I like the idea that you can have a real sword fight with someone and then still be mates after it.

John_Coltrane_1963johann_sebastian_bach

Do you think music has the power to change the world? If so, what change in the world would you like to see your music make

The best music people make comes from pure introversion, following your instincts and not caring about what other people think. I don’t mean that in a snobby, self conscious “fuck the world” way, I mean more that my best music is made when I’m not really aware of doing it, I’m just guiding something from my subconsciousness into a specific place, a specific sequence of events, of deep, emotional information that is conflicted, but gleefully at home in this. Harmonious with it’s own conflicts.

I don’t know, but I’m guessing listeners don’t want to hear you diplomatically tick boxes of what your audience wants, they want pure self expression, it’s so obvious. That’s what draws people in.

For me, eavesdropping in on the conversations people have with themselves is far more interesting then say, listening to the script of social etiquette that we all drag around with us. It’s like voyeurism then, a pure window into the soul. Music should be like that.

Explain the concept behind the Phosphor live show

The concept is elegant analogue geometry accompanied by dark, soul-full euphoric techno music

Clark is cleaner and more direct than many of your previous releases. Are you finding you are able to express more with less these days?

Definitely. it’s all about the magic delete button. What to chisel away at and what to forge into new shapes. It’s a strange combination of utter acceptance of every idea you ever have (you don’t want anything to slip through the net) followed by a ruthlessly honed discipline of self censorship, which roughly, equals = ALBUM, it’s all the bits that didn’t manage to fall away, the bits that grip me the most, that I can’t let go of, that always make it on record. Always.

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