Clark — Ted E.P.

Clark -- Ted E.P. First CD review in a while. Hope you don’t mind. It is short though.

I won’t say much about this, but I will say that I am as disappointed in this EP as I was in his last album.

After ‘Ted’ itself we are presented with Bibio’s remix of ‘Ted’. I don’t think I’ve ever properly listened to any Bibio before. Going by this ‘remix’ (which to my untrained ears sounds more like a cover version than a remix), he’s not much cop. It’s just folksy guitars with effects to make it sound dated. In a similar vein to Boards of Canada’s The Campfire Headphase, which shouldn’t be too much of a shock since Bibio was apparently a big influence on BoC’s most boring album.

Beyond that we have ‘Bruise Animations’ which sounds like it’s had lots of parts recycled from one of the tracks from Body Riddle, but I can’t be bothered working out which.

‘Springtime Epiphany’ sounds like a slowed-down version of ‘Springtime Epigram’ from the album. But towards the end something new comes along — in the shape of synth-farts.

I was prepared to give the whole thing the benefit of the doubt until the final track, ‘Cremation Drones’ started. What a blatant rip-off of Boards of Canada this is! I really wish Chris Clark would get some ideas of his own because he is clearly talented. But he nicks his label mates’ ideas too much.

‘Tyre’ from Empty the Bones of You seemed to be influenced by the piano tracks from Aphex Twin’s DrukQs. Then, on Body Riddle, Clark copied Aphex Twin’s ‘Nannou’ almost wholesale in ‘Night Knuckles’. ‘Betty’ from Empty the Bones of You was also influenced by Autechre’s classic ‘VLetrmx’, and there’s not much attempt to hide it.

It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if he started twiddling around on a bass guitar for his next album.

What is strange is that Chris Clark’s most original album was also his first one, Clarence Park. He seems to be getting less adventurous as he goes on. I found Chris Clark so exciting six years ago. Now, it is sad to say, I almost dread new output of his.

Enjoy, if you can, the video to ‘Ted’. (Even this is just Chris Cunningham lite. Also, inexplicably, the track has had a minute chopped off for the video. Not enough footage?)

18 comments

  1. This review is the most unintelligent, spiteful and pointless review I’ve ever read. There are no constructive or descriptive words, just a snide and bitter rambling from someone who’s clearly got issues and perhaps is a little jealous that they themselves are incapable of producing anything of any merit or beauty. This review is simply a self-indulgent scribbling of hate and contempt using talented and imaginitve artists as punchbags – easy to do when you can pretty much guarantee you’ll never be unfortunate enough to meet them in the flesh, it would be interesting to see how ‘ballsy’ your comments are then. If you really dislike something so much, get over it and write about something you do like, or be more constructive with your words – unless you are incapable of course.

  2. There are better things to be jealous about really.

    I’m just a bit sad because — as I said — I thought Chris Clark had so much promise, and it is unfulfilled. His music is pretty derivative nowadays. I don’t understand why he is getting hyped up more than ever, because each new release is more disappointing than the last. (Although I still think the Throttle Furniture EP is great.)

  3. If you weren’t fond of grapes then you wouldn’t become a wine critic, it’s completely meaningless as a music critic to judge something at surface value and slag it off with no constructive criticism. Remember that the potential thousands who may read this review are not interested in what you personally think about Chris Clark’s musical path but rather the EP itself. As for the bibio comment – you admitted to have never heard any previously but delved straight into the habit of slagging that off also, ‘it’s just folksy guitars’ – is that all you can manage? ‘With effects to make it sound dated’ – oh so you’re a music production expert also? Unlikely considering you are incapable of using any form of technical language to elaborate on that opinion. So what ‘effects’ do you think bibio has used to ‘age’ his music? Do you know anything about music production at all? I’m quite familiar with the EP and I can honestly say that the whole release is a triumph of sophisticated layering, sound manipulation and careful and considerate editing which is highly evocative and rich to the core, if it’s not your cup of tea then I’d like to know why rather than say ‘he’s not much cop’ – you didn’t comment on the various layers, counterpoint, double-reversed melodies, found sounds, pretty decent guitar playing and spacial processing of the bibio remix – ‘which to my untrained ears sounds more like a cover version than a remix’ – so the term remix has evolved, so what? Does it make it less of a track because of the industry jargon attached to it? It seems that you have a hang up about ‘folksy guitars’ and therefore seem to be unwilling to give anything that doesn’t meet your checklist of what’s hip the time of day. Body Riddle is clearly Clark’s most advanced and thoughtful opus to date and I can’t see how it is any more derivitive than Clarence Park, falling into the trap of comparing to Aphex is an utter cliche now which is boring many a Clark fan – would you slag off MF Doom for being derivitive for using yet another hip hop beat? All music derives from the birth of humanity, anyone trying to avoid that falls into the realm of a whole group of people doing the same thing, the quest for originality is futile. I find it quite alarming that you are fortunate enough to be in a position to write about music when there are people stacking shelves with more articulate talents, but you wish to abuse it by spreading negative and superficial words about an artist who is clerly talented and trying hard to explore the domains of music and sound. So, if this EP isn’t all that, what is in your opinion – I’d love to know what is lucky enough to win your approval.

  4. You seem to be labouring under the impression that this is something other than a personal blog. I will give you a clue. This is a personal blog. I am not “fortunate enough to be in a position to write about music”. Any old fool can set up a blog. That is all I have done.

    Oh, and by the way, I stack shelves as well. Really, I’d like to be as “fortunate” as you seem to think I am. But I’m not.

    Clearly, your main beef is that I happen to disagree with your opinion. Fair enough if you disagree with me, but you will have to become more tolerant of other people’s views. There is a lot of bile in that comment and I really think it is misdirected.

    I am not a music production expert, and you will not find me claiming to be a music production expert anywhere. But I listen to a lot of music, and I can tell when somebody is using effects to achieve a particular result. The fact that you even managed to list a whole load of effects that Bibio used only goes to prove this fact!

    As for the Aphex comparisons, seriously just listen to ‘Night Knuckles’ then listen to ‘Nannou’. You will see what I mean. They sound pretty much exactly the same.

    To find out what is lucky enough to win my approval, visit my Last.fm page for starters (Clark is my 49th favourite artist believe it or not!). You will also find plenty of opinions — positive and negative — in the reviews category of this blog.

    A bit of advice. I suggest that if you “are not interested in what [I] personally think about Chris Clark’s musical path but rather the EP itself”, then please try visiting somewhere other than somebody’s personal blog. If you visit a place for personal opinions, personal opinions is what you are going to get. And please don’t tell me what I can and cannot write on my own website when your only gripe seems to be that I disagree with you.

  5. “This review is the most unintelligent, spiteful and pointless review I’ve ever read”. Someone’s been leading a sheltered life. Certainly never picked up a copy of NME then.

    Anyway Mr/Mrs Anonymous, well done you. You’re a hero. It’s about time nobodies were told to stop slagging off established musicians/actors/celebrities etc. Really what right have they got? They’re not even paid to have an opinion. This uncalled for personal and public opinion is rife on the net and it must be stopped! Every person has an opinion and they’re not always right either. But you’re definitely onto something. You keep going and invading other people’s personal websites and tell them to stop having their opinion. If we had more brave anonymous crusaders like you, the net would be a better place, devoid of all but elitist views. Bravo! I’d really like to bake you a special cake to reward you, but I don’t know where to send it to. What a shame. If only next time you’d leave your full name and address.

    Well doctorvee, slap on the wrist chap. You’ve been shamed. I think you might as well give up this blogging malarkey now. People just don’t want to see this kind of unadulterated spite anymore. Go back to stocking the shelves or growing your beard, or whatever it is you do when you’re not slagging off someone who’s actually done something in their life!

  6. I didn’t make a list of effects, brush up on your terminology – it may help when you review records. I don’t have gripe with people with opposing opinions, but this review seems to be nothing more than bitter blogging with no substance. As for the hackneyed comparison of Nannou and Night Knuckles – so Chris used glockenspiel samples and Aphex used wind up music box samples (perhaps untrained ears are incapable of distinguishing between the two) – and Chris makes a track of fast sequenced melodic xylophone and he’s ripped off nannou? Do you not think that he was expecting to hear that comment after he made it? It’s such an obvious target, so obvious that it’s almost embarrassing to mention. If there is not room in the world for more than one track containing music box/glockenspiel samples then something has gone serioiusly wrong – I suppose everyone who is using guitars, drums, bass and vocals are ripping off the beatles? Making these comparisions all the time is not very constructive and they are often not very accurate, my mom might think that boards of canada sound like the human league – doesn’t mean the comparison is accurate. Apologies for soiling your personal blog with opposing opinions.

  7. xylophone“?! Brush up on your terminology!

    I think the fact that you even say that “Chris” [on first name terms are we?] was expecting a comparison to be made between Night Knuckles and Nannou — and even that it is such an obvious comparison to make that it is supposedly embarrassing — kind of proves my point. They sound inseparably similar in a way that BoC and The Human League simply don’t.

  8. Yes I am on first name terms because, yes, I am a personal friend of Chris – partly the reason for me being offended by your comments as I know just how talented he is, and considering the amount of effort, thought and deep consideration that goes into his music not to mention the unbelievable skill that he has and acute ears, it’s pretty offensive when someone with a severe limited knowledge of how music is made can rip it apart without any justification. To be honest, this is rather pointless playing ping pong with someone elses music, if you think it’s dreadful then fair enough, just pretty alarming that in your last fm top 50 Graham Coxon is rated higher than Clark – hmmmm. Each to their own I guess. Oh and I agree that the campfire headphase is boc’s most boring album, but how is bibio to blame?

  9. I’m fond of your website, chap, but it does seem such a shame that what is otherwise well organised, thoughtful and informative blogging, plainly falls down on badly written, puerile, and uninformative music reviews. Bibio has long been a criminally underrated, innovative producer. A compliment from Boards of Canada on your record sleeve hardly means you are guaranteed royalty sums and recognition fit for retirement. I don’ t mean to sound harsh but I find it abit insulting that his music, which is nothing short of masterful, is met with such verbal complaceny. At least dignify what you review with more thorough reasons as to why you don’t like it. That you have never bothered to investigate his work before is something that you clearly feel proud of. I really don’t understand this attitude, sorry…

  10. Well, I did explain why I never investigated Bibio — he was cited as a major influence on The Campfire Headphase which is BOC’s most boring album. I had heard reviews which suggested that it wouldn’t be the sort of music that I’d be interested in. The mundane Ted ‘remix’ confirmed my conceptions about his music.

    For those complaining about the poorly written nature of the review, I did flag that up at the very start of the post. I fired off the whole thing and wrote it pretty much as I thought it, I didn’t read over it or edit it. I just wanted to fire something off to register my disappointment in the EP. I didn’t promise anything other than that, I wasn’t prepared to devote any more time to the post.

  11. I haven’t read all of the comments cause it would have been a bit too much,I hope I wont repeat things that have been already said.

    Some of the first comments were about someone being disappointed by Chris Clark’s lates work: to be honest when I first heard “Ted” at Cargo I wasn’t sure about it because of the 4/4 beat, now I think it’s one of the most amazing tunes I’ve heard in the last moths..take it as you want, compare it to Clarence Park or whatever, it is obviously different, but you can’t do your whole life the same style, right?

    I think that many times it’s much easier to get glitchy and confusing in the sound and mostly in the drums, but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily good. On the opposite, i think that combining just a few good elements which make a tune complete and powerful is much harder.

    I will just speak about this tune, I actually think that “Ted” is a sign of growth: it’s too easy and too obvious to try to analyse how a track has been made and try to criticise negatively because of that.
    I know it might sound pathetic, but in the end it’s still about the final result of a track, not about it’s process , right?

    What Warp Records has een releasing in the last years is not properly my cup of tea, but I think that Chris Clark is it’s best producers on it, and “Ted” (his work in general)is amazingly deep.

  12. i stack shelves as well =].
    Oh, and i was a little dissapointed with the E.P as well, two tracks i had heard before (got the bibio one on download (legally!) before the e.p).
    And three tracks that sound like cast offs from Body Riddle, same distorted big beat drums, rythmic patterns etc.. melodies are not that special…….ramble ramble ramble ramble
    Try not to get so opiniated about music people. it’s all subjective ;)!
    Who knows smoke one and take another listen you might like it a bit more one day.

  13. How can you not like all the crazy stuff that’s going on in the highend and long reverbs of Campfire Headphase.

    (Sorry if my English is bad, I’m from America LOL)

  14. you are clearly an idiot and don’t understand electronic music.
    music is a message from the artist and if he may sound similar to other artists that is just cause he is influenced from them.
    NO ONE IS COMPLETELY ORIGINAL THESE DAYS – ALL ART IS FORMED FROM OTHER ART!

  15. Immediately after listening to the Ted E.P. for the third time, I started searching for reviews to see if anyone else thought it was as terrible as I think it is. After three or four immensely positive reviews, I thought I was the last sane person left. Fortunately I’m not; your review describes exactly how I felt about every single track.

  16. this review is stupid. can you even describe what the music sounds like without comparing it to someone else? anonymous is a bit of a douche but he knows what he’s saying.