Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Sonic Worlds: Clark’s Favourite Albums

With his sterling, self-titled seventh album released and a run of sets coming up before the year's out, the Warp producer delves into his towel collection (read on) and picks his 13 top LPs for Nick Hutchings

Clark, Chris Clark’s seventh album, is possessed of a certain frosty clarity, one which makes it a perfect record for winter. The reason for such seasonal suitability may be that Clark decamped from his home in Berlin, where he normally lopes out of bed and into a studio next to his bedroom, to an isolated barn in the English countryside to record. "It’s funny because, along with Warp, I thought it would take two months," he explains. "I really wanted it released in winter, as to me it’s a very wintery record. In two months I had half of it done and then every week they were saying I’d have to hand it in or else I’d miss the deadline. I’d say I need one more week. And that went on for eight weeks. They were very patient. There is that homework vibe, but you’re basically the one that can extend the deadline. It’s like getting back at your teachers".

The fastidious, if not fast, work has paid off, even though one teacher back in the day had told Clark to put down the drum machine. "He did actually use the words: ‘you’ll lose all your soul if you use machines!’ Yeah, I could have been a session drummer for a pub covers’ band. He was a nice guy though, we just had different perspectives."

Not averse to tinkling on the piano or actually getting behind a real drum kit, Clark had been tucked away for this sonic field experiment with just a laptop and a couple of synths for company, and no access to his vast record collection. "’Cause I haven’t listened to music in a while I thought, have I even got 13 [albums]? I’ve got a lot of vinyl at my mum’s. It’s quite annoying: I’ve got about 14 different iTunes libraries at home in Berlin too, all on different back-up discs. I really need to sort my back-up system out because it’s just loads of terabyte hard drives lying around my flat. When I do gigs I always hide them because I don’t want anyone to nick them, and then I always forget where I’ve hidden them. So I’ll be in the bathroom and I’ll find three terabyte discs buried in-between some towels. There’s a few in this studio room now and there’s a few in my girlfriend’s sock drawer."

Despite having to dig into drawers rather than crates, Clark has picked an eclectic bunch, ranging from electro-acoustic compositions to precision rock and indie hip-hop for his Baker’s. The common factor appears to be a certain degree of wintry darkness.

"I do like gloomy music, not purely gloomy music, I like a bit of Sun Ra. Though they write some fairly gloomy music as well. I really like Grouper, I love all of that. I’m clearly attracted to the murk."

How have these records fed back into his own electronic loops and layers?

"In some ways I would never try and replicate these records because it would feel disrespectful, but there are just certain elements that I would pick up on. It’s very hard to quantify in any literal and coherent way. Bad music inspires me more than good music. So with good music, it’s just a pure escape and I turn my interrogating mind off if you know what I mean. These would be good desert island discs. But anyway, who would take records to a desert island?"

Clark is out now on Warp. Clark plays the Berghain in Berlin on December 3, Circolo Magnolia in Milan on December 5, Tesla in Budapest on December 13 and District 8 in Dublin on December 27; head to his website for full details. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Clark’s choices

First Record

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