Following on from “Clark”, an album Boris Hauf originally released in 2005 but remastered a few years ago, Clark2 is a fitting sequel. It’s longer, deeper, and more epic, inviting you on a long and often introspective electronica-bordering-on-ambient journey that’s about as expressive as machines can get.
Fifteen-minute self-contained mini-opus “Island Destiny” is a bold start, a many-chaptered affair with a series of bleeps, arpeggiators, synth washes and hums gradually taking turns to fade in and out of your consciousness.
“Mirrorism” has more than a shade of early Tangerine Dream about it, revelling in gradually unfolding analogue synth arpeggiations that are dizzying at first then blossom into a new calm- the sound of a composer with a great deal of understanding both technical and emotional. This vibe continues through the brooding “Deep Time; Deep Place”, the skittish and glitchy “Sunset Binary”, and the wrap-up piece “Chaos Children”. It’s not all brutally serious though or post-apocalyptic in the meantime though. There’s the beautifully perky and optimistic “A Palace Not Infinite”, a portrait of some science fiction future castle teeming with electronic life, and the strangely playful pitch shifts of “Amour Fou”.
The first “Clark” album was closer to techno than this, with more beat patterns at play. Danceable patterns are fewer and further between here, but there are still a few more high-energy moments that border on fun, such as “Kastri” with its Philip-Glass-on-speed arp opening. “Ancient Burdens”, initially a fairly straightforward drone, gradually begins pulsing, side-chaining and building in odd directions, adding in cutlery-like found sounds and, practically out of nowhere, a harp. “Humans” is an oddity, three minutes of backwards stabs and unpredictable hits that feels like a frivolous little tea break from the grown-up long works around it- a temporary HAL 9000 malfunction in this smooth musical spaceship.
There’s a sense of space throughout, in two simple ways. Yes it is naturally sci-fi, with its combination of atmospheric electronics and slow drama, but it’s also spacious, never crowded, always allowing you to breathe. It’s an album best listened to by letting it wash over you, which for some releases might be a criticism, but not here. Even simple details like playful stereo use keep the listener attached.
It’s rare that a single album in one style can justify and maintain an 80-minute duration, especially one with such a minimalist approach as this has at times- but it’s a testament to the balance and control that’s been put into this that it really is worthy of it. It’s filmic and grandiose, yet never over the top. It’s a modern take on the halcyon 70’s days of experimental electronic music, with a few fresh details, and it’s executed brilliantly.
Brace yourself for a beautiful musical deep space science fiction adventure on this one.