Playground In A Lake

(Deutsche Grammophon)


Since making his debut in the early 2000s, Christopher Clark has earned his place as one of London’s most consistently cutting-edge producers. From the versatile electronic textures of fan favourite Clarence Park to his eerie, pulsating score for last year’s indie-horror Daniel Isn’t Real, you can count on him to push boundaries with each new project. Now Clark has shed his skin once again for his ninth album, Playground In A Lake, which is likely to be remembered as his most ambitious, esoteric work to date.

Across 16 tracks Clark explores the concept of innocence lost, playing with imagery of a flooded planet. Yet it’s not as downtrodden as that may sound; there are many tranquil moments, inspired by Scott Walker and ’70s synth work.

Oliver Coates and members of Grizzly Bear and Manchester Collective lend their hand to the instrumentals, which are occasionally joined by choir boy Nathaniel Timoney, whose vocals help express the themes of childhood and innocence. Tracks such as ‘Citrus’ lull you into a state of calm, while ‘More Islands’ wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack to a moody sci-fi film, and the monolithic ‘Life Outro’ closes the record in epic fashion.

Playground In A Lake offers some stunning moments and is likely to be enjoyed greatly by Clark’s most ardent fans, but the casual listener may find the experimental sound design too sprawling. Regardless, he remains a veteran who can be relied upon to never pander to the ordinary.