Feedle (Graham Clarke)
I often sympathize with fans of delicately fuzzy and atmospheric electronic music. Not because of the music itself, which I enjoy it as well, but rather in admiration of their patience. Being a devotee of the particular sub-genre certainly has it’s rewards, though it often seems overshadowed by the usual unfortunate circumstance that there are only a handful of good albums in the category released each year. There are understandably a large amount of talented artists in who lend their skills toward the glitch-fuzz-electro specification, though their exposure in commercialized media is limited at best. Such artists hardly seem to mind though. As long as their music is released to the intended cult following, all is peaceful. The genre is not lacking quality of any kind, it is just struggling to find the commercial output that general pop music finds great abundance in. When a release like Feedle‘s Leave Now For Adventure comes along, it’s the type of album that fills a hole in the heart of fuzz-pop fans who have waited for a quality release for a few months, which for music fans is a lifetime. The solo project of 29-year-old Graham Clarke, the Sheffield-based artist is creating all kinds of buzz with his debut album. Originally released by net-label SVC Records (aka Spoilt Victorian Child), Clarke eventually scored an actual record deal with London-based indie label Illicit Recordings, being an example of the benefits that a net-label can offer. Clarke states his influences proudly. Whether it’s the shoegaze influence of My Bloody Valentine or the epic space rock feel of Mogwai, Clarke wears it on his sleeve. With My Bloody Valentine and Mogwai representing the more natural side of guitar-led distortion and innovative pedal effects, the electronic element is where Clarke expresses his greatest form of ingenuity. Clarke’s use of keys and various forms of instrumental loops recalls the early days of Air, while shifting drum loops and impressive ambient effects provide for an atmospheric brilliance that is comparable with the constantly influential Aphex Twin.
My personal favorite off of Leave Now For Adventure is the winding “This Troubles All Dust”, a nearly seven-minute track that appears as a result of concise songwriting and production. While the song originally starts out with a bare guitar progression, various forms of percussion and electronic keys eventually immerse themselves in the layers flawlessly. The engaging chanting done in the song is one of the few vocal aspects in Leave Now For Adventure, a primarily ambient album reliant on instrumental vision. Admittedly, the song does take about three minutes to finally gain momentum but the build-up is worth the wait. When a new melody led by bright keys and synth pads takes form at 03:35, the song exposes a whole new face. Over the new melody, a different rhythm section is picked up by the introduction of a brooding distorted guitar. When the percussion and guitar slide into place to create a bridge of sorts, Clarke’s chanting returns as he eventually caps off the most impressive song on the album. “Home” works off of a dark piano melody etched in reverb, with a flurry of percussion supplying various groups of complementary synths. The mixture between generally serene synths and wildly active percussion provides for original contrast, combining opposite parallels for an unique effect. While I am more fond of Clarke’s slower-paced actions, fans of more intense distortion will certainly find enjoyment in “Song for Dogs”, an otherwise exciting opener that utilizes heavy guitar effects with experimental distortion. One person described Leave Now For Adventure as if “Fennesz remixed the Flaming Lips”, which as odd as it sounds, is fittingly accurate. While Feedle can be classified as electronica, the tag is much too limited for mere specification. Leave Now for Adventure is bursting full of style and ingenuity, leaving fans of the risky genre quite content. It will be released on March 26th in the UK, reaching the USA on the 29th.