Album Reviews - Reviews

Clark – Feast/Beast


The success or failure of a remix compilation can be entirely down to the approach of the label and artist responsible for the output. One approach, which favours commercial acclaim over artistic integrity, can fairly easily culminate in a product that ultimately brings on the same harrowing feeling as finding the biscuit tin devoid of all deliciousness and filled with fig-rolls instead; a dark hour in the lives of many. Think Sasha’s latest Involv3r monstrosity. Actually, don’t do it to yourself. You deserve better. Thankfully though, Clark (Chris Clark) has taken the more fruitful direction with his latest effort Feast/Beast, and it’s apparent that the collaborative artistry of Warp and a passion for creation usurp any notion of self-promotion or label sycophancy. I’m looking at you Sasha.

The compilation employs a familiar industry standard in that it has two sides to showcase the dexterity of Clark’s ability as a composer and remixer; Feast celebrating a lighter, more melody driven side to Clark while Beast focuses on a brasher, more techno oriented sound. Sonically, this album is far from standard.  Feast features artists like Amon Tobin, Battles, Nathan Fake (who provides a remix of Clark on Beast) and Rone, all getting lovingly cut up by Clark, as well as Clark himself getting lovingly cut up by Bibio.

‘Braid of Voices’ by DM Stith gets a hauntingly fragile re-working that provoked a genuinely emotional response from me, something that I haven’t experienced from a track in a long time. The reverb-soaked guitars and far away vocals blend calmly with a percussive groove that’s loose and un-compressed, but the inclusion of the muffled piano refrain implies the true beauty of the track. Clark’s take on Amon Tobin’s ‘Kitchen Sink’ is tighter, lucid and more complex.  Its rhythm is guided by the style of beats that will be common to fans of much of Warp’s roster, but the snappy percussion is juxtaposed nicely with a delicate marimba melody. The closing track of Feast is a remix of Prince Myshkin’s ‘Cold Baby’ which is a suitably epic chord progression of layered synth pads and dense strings; a fitting farewell to the first collection of tracks.

Beast kicks off with a dark, dubby remix of Massive Attack’s ‘Red Light.’ As the opening track, it fairs well in displaying Clark’s aptitude for experimentation. Maximo Park’s ‘Let’s Get Clinical’ is another example of the harder dimension in which Beast resides. It has an industrial, electro feel with a rave line that could be mistaken for early LFO. All good things, friends, but placid in comparison to Clark’s version of Drvg Cvltvre’s ‘Hammersmashed.’ It’s a raw, relentless drum and bass journey to complete-fucking-meltdownville.  Nifty stuff.

Three points of advice with regards to this album: buy it, play it loudly, play it all the way through. It’s pretty special. Aaron Drain