Clark / Playground In A Lake / Deutsche Grammophon

Clark`s moved from Warp to classical giant Deutsche Grammophon. His new album, Playground In A Lake, comes with 3 pages of press text that hint at a big concept behind the recordings – detailing how they draw on pessimistic, philosophical tracts. Explaining the suite`s narrative in terms of extinction myth. The nature of the lake however, remains, perhaps purposefully, opaque. 

The mood begins bucolic. I guess that`s the water`s serene surface. Boldly bowed cello. Sustained violin strings. Pretty piano patterns dancing politely. Bolstered by a bass heavy boom of symphonic sonics. Found sounds – like bird song – falling between the keys, while electrical storms brew like dark clouds in its distance. 

Orchestral swoons and sighs intro a melancholy march – as the story’s protagonist dives deeper. Icy chimes painting cold glacial climes. A chorus of treated voices offering hope. Harmony within the broken, increasingly distorted signals. The vocals then transformed into wordless wails against sharp metallic shards and roaring sound. Caught in currents of powerful, muscular, organic pulses. Blasted by earthshaking electronics. Walls, or rather waves, of emotional noise tearing at the music’s fabric. Clark describes it as “Decay made beautiful.” The undertow now a scowling Sci-Fi soundtrack – Vangelis` opening Blade Runner credits as 1982`s vision of 2019`s L.A. night burns. Menace and searing feedback replacing the serenity, before a final, epic, fanfare – I was reminded of Johann Johannsson`s Miner`s Hymns – releases the pressure of its obsidian bends. 

Clark`s Playground In A Lakers out now on Deutsche Grammophon. 

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