Anyone who has been out and about in the fleshpots of our urban centres will recognize the gleaming rhythmic shapes playing out across the ten tracks of Calum Gunn’s Clipe, albeit in a rearranged form. Like a rave Eric Morecambe – all the right loops, but not necessarily in the right order – the computer music maven and head of the Conditional label doesn’t rewire club music’s DNA as much as poke his fingers into its primal goo to stir it all up a bit. The textures are sticky, as plasticky as well-kneaded dough, and the bright colours are stretched into new shapes by assiduous code tinkering. Yet a taste of those dancefloor flavours still lingers, for example in the clockwork dubstep lurch of Fixed or swashbuckling deathray fizz of 33a. True, their optimum moment may be 7am on a Sunday morning after 36 hours of focused hedonism, but the peculiar ability of twisting constructions like Second Dori or ‘Ard to light up the frazzled synapses of even the most jaded gurners is admirable, even as they tweak the lobes of the IDM nerd-out squad.
The particular joy of Clipe comes from an insouciant navigation between the oily seepages of late-period Autechre and Brainfeeder-ish lysergic funk, condensed into tracks of relatively short duration and given an alchemical spritz by Gunn’s compositional chops. In general, there’s a heartbeat pulse to be felt on all but the most abstract tracks, even if, as on the title cut, it is submerged in a morass of pointillist kickdrums and spinning synth squelch. Wiper messes with the blueprint by steadily gaining velocity throughout, winding itself up like some of the spiral staircase constructions of Gunn’s Baggy Sheps . I have a soft spot for the rotating bursts of Dori, its isolated drum hits triggering collapsing Dayglo arpeggios like some psychedelic wind farm melting into entropic slush. It’s all rather beautiful, in fact, and demonstrates just how open to redefinition our templates for electronic music are – as well as highlighting the tunnel-vision complacency of most mainstream club music.