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Clark Totems Flare Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

An abrasive, often disorientating hot plate of moody and sophisticated electronica.

Lou Thomas 2009

For his fifth album St Albans' production whizz Chris Clark has served up an abrasive, often disorientating hot plate of moody and sophisticated electronica.

Like much of Warp's output and Clark's own canon Totems Flare is not an easy listen, but it is undoubtedly invigorating.

Outside Plume is an ominous starting point. Half Dawn Of The Dead soundtrack homage and half Squarepusher P-funk, it twitches like a trainee shoplifter and moves like an eager security guard.

With its terrifying waves of F*** Buttons synth oppression, Growl's Garden is equally impressive. This is music The Chemical Brothers would make, if the Chemicals involved were as unstable as Iranian democracy.

Rainbow Voodoo is the only inadequate moment of the record and sounds like an Aphex Twin parody made by obsequious art students.

Mr Fingers deep house classic Can You Feel It? Is unexpectedly referenced on the album's only real commercial moment, Look Into The Heart Now. Yet, 'commercial' is only a relative term of reference. The song still features a satanic growling voice and more erratic bleeps than a Gordon Ramsey TV show.

Suns Of Temper is a more fitting Ritchie Hawtin-style techno blitzkrieg and is a savage indication of Clark's force of will: at once brilliant, bold and instinctive.

This year Wavves have already proven that a load of unfocused noise means little. Chris Clark realises better than most what can really be achieved with beats and guitars processed to the nth degree and has managed to rein in any indulgent tendencies.

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