Reviews

Chris Clark

Chris Clark is so punk rock, and not just because of the skulls scribbled on the cover of his new album. The whole Warp label is a totally punk-rock thing. The British imprint -- known for its long-term relationships with electronic music iconoclasts Aphex Twin and Squarepusher -- set itself up as an outsider to the mainstream dance-music world over a decade ago. But when compared with experimental electronic labels like Mego or Orthlorng Musork, Warp starts to look kind of conservative. Then again punk rock has become pretty conservative, too. Bands such as Rancid and NOFX have made careers out of rewriting Clash and Bad Religion songs, justified by an understanding that if it ain't broke, you don't fix it. When it comes to Chris Clark the motto's more like "if it sounds this good broken, I shan't fix it."

On his second album, Empty the Bones of You, Clark continues to play Rancid to Aphex Twin's Clash. He knows how to intertwine acoustic instruments with unstable rhythms, and on the best tracks he uses organs and pianos to complement deconstructed bass lines with gloomy effect. If you're a freak for Warp's fractured electronica, then Clark is your man of the hour. If not stick with vintage Aphex Twin, but keep an eye on Clark. This is only his second album and the good parts give the former a run for his money. After all, one of the most important lessons of punk rock is to kill your idols.

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Daniel Chamberlin