Clark - Turning Dragon
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Turning Dragon

With each album, Chris Clark (again identified by just his last name this time out) somehow manages to make small steps to identify himself as unique in a world that's been flooded with electronic music. His previous album Body Riddle seemed to deal with the sheer manipulation of sound in a way that nobody else was quite attempting, and Turning Dragons continues down that road, albeit with an even more forceful hand. Sounding somewhat like a deconstructed dance mix, this eleven song, forty-five minute album is certainly the loudest thing he's done to date.

If his previous album focused in more on melody and the many subtle sonic twitches and variations that one could possibly fold over on those melodies, Turning Dragon does the same sort of thing with rhythm, in many cases crunching along with massive, static-sprayed and glitched 4/4 kick drums. He even (sorta) dips his toe into mashup, with "Volcan Veins" and "Truncation Horn" tearing apart Missy Elliot and INXS respectively. With these two tracks in particular, Clark drops the beat in an almost ridiculous manner, with massively chopped-bits musical bits (INXS is nearly imperceptible) and pummeling beats. Although Clark certainly has his own style, it's nothing that hasn't been done before, and the end result is something that comes in somewhere between Akufen and Kid 606.

It's a release that has energy to burn, and while the usual, sometimes-mindblowing sonic effects are in place, the more simple beat programming and less of a focus on melody doesn't give it quite the unique edge that Body Riddle had. "Radiation Clutch" churns through almost five minutes of brooding, crunchy minimal techno that doesn't go much of anywhere, while "Ache Of The North" skitters through a sort of dated, acid-tinged opening half before flourishing with a lush and haunting close. It's certainly intense, with a rhythmic focus that's impossible to not be excited by at times, but this seems to have come at the expense of melody and sheer variety. As I mention above, Clark is making music that doesn't sound quite like anyone else, but this release finds him just a smidgen closer to the unwashed masses.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2008-04-10 20:48:11