Reviews

Clark
Death Peak

(Warp)

9/10

Rarely are artists, caught up in the intricacies and subjectivities of their practice, genuinely capable of providing reliable, relatable descriptions of their own work. Usually, an external voice is, if not necessary as such, certainly useful for the efficient re-interpretation and quantification of that work for a general audience. Were this not the case, music criticism would be an even more obsolete field than one might plausibly argue it to be already. Yet, to my mind at least, Chris Clark encapsulates ‘Death Peak’, his new LP, near-perfectly in this quote:

“I love finding the fulcrum between opposites – I want my tracks to have sharp teeth, but you want to stroke them too. They sound ancient, but beamed in from the future, soft, corrosive.”

For ‘Death Peak’ is a multifaceted, non-linear work, whose extremes are constantly being pulled backwards over themselves in order to meet, not in the middle exactly, but at some separate point entirely. Neither fusion nor juxtaposition are truly characteristic here; rather, the album hinges upon its skilful displacement and re-contextualisation of tropes and textures more commonly found in such related but distinct genres as noise, ambient, house and techno.

The “opposites” of which Clark speaks don’t sound exactly out of place or awkwardly bound together when we hear them interacting with each other, precisely because his productions manage to transport us into somewhat alien territory: that groove shouldn’t be sitting there under that synth, but then where else would it go, and anywhere, how did we end up here?

‘Death Peak’ has the remarkable effect of disorientating its audience in such a way that, save for a couple of mild lulls, it makes complete sense mid-listen and very little once the record finishes. For a record to have such a bizarre, profound (and not always entirely pleasant) impact is a rarity; for the same record to boast such a catalogue of eminently danceable, cathartic moments is astounding.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £3 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£6 per month) and the rest of the world (£8 per month).

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.