Last week saw the release of Death Peak, the ninth studio album from electronic music stalwart Clark.
Warp Records' techno king has explored all corners of his genre over around 20 years with the label, and on Death Peak he's somehow managed to make some of his most engaging, refreshing work yet. Death Peak engages the head as music as it makes you want to move - and it's a terrific record full of immense peaks (obviously) and drops.
Below, you can listen to the album alongside Chris Clark's track by track guide to his latest opus.
"I wanted this to sound like a ‘70 [Werner] Herzog film mutated by a gnarly slab of future-bound sound design creeping in at the end, really detailed and layered. It pulls the whole thing apart, corrodes it, I want it to feel like a shock, or a gasp when you inhale too much whatever it is you like inhaling. The children’s choir are just singing a simple interval. It sounds like an induction ritual, they are encircling you, they pull you in."
"The re-iteration of the riff in this feels like the constant hum of your perception as it moves through a changing landscape. The same but different, all the time. It took me about 3 minutes to make the initial improvisation of this, but I really climbed inside it for months after, and wanted to make it a fully immersive composition, with new nooks and crannies revealed on each listen. For a while it was quite hard to hear it as a whole. I micro-tuned each frame of the journey and wanted it to build in momentum continually. It’s a pretty friendly tame track though, for me. It’s like a Trojan horse, a romp through the meadow at the bottom of the Death Peak."
"Almost the tougher sibling to butterfly. Starts off all unburdened happy to the point of being a bit pleased with itself, but then churns into this euphoric white out of peak drop. If I was going to sound crass I’d say it’s like something from Disintegration Loops with a kick over it. It actually originated from an improvisation with tape loops through a desk and about 5439 guitar pedals. I could build a castle out of the end melody drop, I didn’t want it to end. I want it to feel like time lapse footage of a tree pushing through the soil, the sound of growth, child-like optimism with a pinch of aggression too."
"The album stops being all 'I'm a friendly happy guy' at this point. It’s a vital pivot, you feel the mood hinge into something else. Piano section is proper Basic Channel influenced, those 1 chord moody vamp things they do so well. I’ve totally contorted it to fit my ideal though. Some sounds have a snarling, lairy quality that I find quite addictive. It’s confusing because snarling, lairy people aren’t that much fun, generally. "
"We all could use some slap drones in our lives. Like physical manifestations of conscience. They give us a slap when our behaviour is LESS THAN IDEAL. I stole the title from an Iain M. Banks novel that a friend recommended. It sounds proper psychedelic to me. I’d like to release a long version of this drone at some point, there’s a version of it that’s just the drone, and me improvising intoxicated sounding jazz scales over it for about 20 minutes. I wasn’t intoxicated when I played it. I never am when I make music. Music is like my very own slap drone. The improv was nice, abit like Alice Coltrane vs Sunn 0))). but alas not peaky enough for the album."