Chris Clark : Clarence Park
New signing to Warp Records with nice, eerie debut
The small child with glowing devil eyes on the cover is a dead giveaway. Once again, we’re down with electronica’s pre-school group, where the playful and malign hold hands before register. Your teachers? Occultist tag team Boards Of Canada and, of course, Aphex Twin in his terrifying ‘Come To Daddy’ guise.
That’s the idea, anyway. Truth be told, the debut album of Chris Clark – a 21-year-old newcomer to the ever-impressive Warp roster – isn’t half as creepy and deviant as its packaging suggests. Titles like ‘Shrewland’ and ‘Diesel Raven’ may hope to invoke faintly pagan horrors, but the stench of burning wicker men doesn’t really hang over ‘Clarence Park’. Possibly because, rather than the Cornish and Scottish hinterlands of his label forefathers, Clark actually hails from St Albans.
More importantly, he sounds like he’s having too much of a good time to play any truly nasty pranks. The time-stretched beats of ‘The Dogs’ are attractively dirty and mangled, sure, but it’s the wonky avant-rave of ‘Proper Lo-Fi’ and the amiable, flute-looped drill’n’bass of ‘Lord Of The Dance’ that reveal Clark as a special, notably sweeter talent. He may present himself as a student of the dark arts, but don’t be fooled: in reality, he’s doing English Literature at Bristol.