Dec 31, 2014

Best electronic albums of 2014: two

 Clark  Clark (Warp)

You might need a lighthouse for this one, because the clouds are rolling in.

This is Clark’s uncompromising seventh album where the creaking wrath of opener Ship Is Flooding spreads throughout the album, threatening the brisk Unfurla, washing over the beatless Beacon, and engulfing everything on There’s A Distance In You. We are never allowed too far from that source, despite many entertaining distractions: dismembered choirboys on Snowbird, the Lone-style chops of Silvered Iris, the shimmering yet angry epic Winter Linn.

Sonically, it works best as a sister album to Turning Dragon or Totems Flare, but somewhere here, submerged in analogue murk, is his strongest intent yet. Stick your head above the gloom and allow yourself this moment of clarity: Clark is probably Warp’s most significant artist, matching Squarepusher in album output.

But while his Squareness spit-polishes his jazzy LEDS, Chris Clark plunges ever deeper depths and remains blisteringly entertaining.

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A special mention

Before I tie up the loose ends of those that didn't quite make it into this year's top ten, there's something I want to point out. In 2014, we lost two incredible talents: Gravenhurst's Nick Talbot and LFO's Mark Bell. I hope, over the years, this blog has celebrated innovation and passion in music. When that passion is cut short, a bit of all of us withers.

I joke about the '27 club', but sometimes the gap between here and there is a thin place, and life is fragile. My own life is coloured with grief more than my stupid humour would perhaps suggest, so to family, friends and fans of Nick and Mark, I mourn with you.

Some also-rans

Right. Time to execute the final stragglers before we lead into the number one album of 2014. (See? Stupid humour.) Caustic Window used Kickstarter to give us an archive album that was an interesting artefact if not the best example of, erm, thingummy's work. I loved, loved, loved Lee Bannon's robust junglism on Alternate/Endings (Ninja Tune). There was much to admire in DJ Q's dancefloor-friendly Ineffable (Local Action). And finally, I was sorry not to include the following: Rustie's Green Language (Warp) which lost the spark of his previous work, Caribou's Our Love (City Slang) which had so much good stuff (Can't Do Without You), and Luke Abbott's Wysing Forest (Border Community), which lacked the immediacy of his previous work.

Stay tuned for the number one. Although you've probably worked it out by now.

[Click here for the full top ten]