Dave Clarke’s Archive One… ‘a warped, out-of-kilter musical worldview’ [February 1996]

With the release of techno legend Dave Clarke’s new album [the excellent The Desecration of Desire] last week, 909originals takes a look back to early 1996, when the baron released Archive One, a collection taken from the Red series…

As long-established music journo Ian Gittins wrote in The Guardian [Feb 9, 1996], awarding the album an ‘indispensable’ five star rating, Clarke’s “Red trilogy of singles […] established him as one of the most innovative artists on the contemporary techno scene, and the frequently staggering Archive One represents a further quantum leap for surely the most fertile imagination in today’s dance world.

“Clarke is a Brighton-based DJ and mixer whose truculence is legendary. On this album sleeve’s thank you list, he ostentatiously crosses out the name of a dance writer who recently slagged him off in print, and his music is a compelling downloading of claustrophobic, wired, potentially paranoia-inducing tensions and frustrations. Even in a techno world long since divorced from its initial Ecstasy-induced happy hedonism, this is dark, troubled fare. Clarke’s warped, out-of-kilter musical worldview is mesmerising throughout.”

In terms of the individual album tracks, opener Rhapsody In Red is described as “ludicrously baroque, a potential prologue for a techno Spinal Tap”, while The Woki “samples a herd of raging elephants to startling effect”.

About No One’s Driving, Gittins describes it as “ a scraped-to-the-bone baleful techno /hip-hop collision which veers from a sample of eighties experimentalists Art Of Noise to a bitter, unhinged voice proclaiming, ‘That’s the way the government planned it/Rape and pillage everything on the planet’.”

Some 21 years have passed since Archive One’s release, and yet more since the Red series, and yet Clarke has managed to maintain his position at the top of the techno tree… something anticipated by Gittins in the review’s closing words…

“This album ups the ante for Brit techno, and the twitchy Dave Clarke now faces the grim prospect of being lavishly lauded by every sycophant and trendhopper in clubland. He’s going to absolutely hate it.”

Keep up the good work Dave…

[Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 1996]

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