Make Me Better
With his 2012 sophomore studio album, We Are but Hunks of Wood, London producer Laurent Clerk separates himself from the oversampling heard in his 2006 debut long-player, Mickey Mouse Operation. Now with a bustling quiver of original sounds, “Marzipan Children” opens with mellow sound textures set to sophisticated beat patterns. The addition of neon-flavored R&B synths and bellbottomed wah-wah guitar help set a subtly funky mood. The following “Eminence Grise” switches gears by looping a lilting string section as pitter-patter rhythms slowly work their way in. But the combination of deep bass tones with the strings makes this one a handsome track. “Cartouche” also incorporates strings, this time with the bleeps and blips of analog keyboard noise. The big warm bass here slowly propels the song with a clever contrast wherein Clerk layers a mechanical-sounding collage over a foundation of organic resonance. January Thompson provides the only vocal track, “Wonderland.” Her icy-cool inflections hover over a pulsing, kinetic production with a Portishead cool; it begs for future collaborations.