Dave Clarke - Devil's Advocate

Dave Clarke, the notoriously moody and outspoken techno DJ from Brighton is the undisputed ambassador for the UK techno scene. He started his career as a DJ in '80 mixing hip-hop and then he moved to acid house.

He experiences electronic beats by mixing tracks from Faithless ("We Come One"), Carl Cox ("Rocco") or Green Velvet ("La La Land"). His live sets are no doubt a totally underground way of looking the music. His pleasure for all kind of effects (flanging, echoes, reverbs, phasing, filters, modulations or ripping sounds) comes from his understanding and love for the underground music. And his skill is shown on his latest album, "Devil's Advocate".

I first listened to this album, at the end of last year, but somehow, this cd got into my hand again a few days before, so I decided to write a review, as I was impressed by the quality of the tracks. This CD brings really new experiences and dimensions of sound. A really blow-minded stuff containing pure elements of techno, hip-hop, tech-house, but all these in a proper way, very original and uncommercial, just underground music.

"Devil's Advocate" was released on October the 7th last year at Skint Records and there was a big rumor that the album will be a waist of time, being very controversial. Anyway, the tracks were appreciated by the DJs and people, too and Dave Clarke's album became a piece of art in the techno industry. The CD contains 11 tracks all of a kind, with pure electronic sounds and shaking beats. There are featured also male and female voices very expressive and powerful. The album starts with the collaboration with Dj Rush, "Way of Life", which enjoyed a video too, released early this year. This is the most powerful and massive single of the album, dark and funny in the same time. The vocals express the "utility" of this genre of music. The next track is for all techno lovers, "What Was Her Name" being an excellent moving song. The vocals are obsessive and it leads you to another dimension, it controls your ears with some deep synths and a violent bass line. "The Wiggle" represents a powerful quality techno track and gives to the listener the party sensation. Going on the hip-hop and trip-hop atmosphere, next track "Blue On Blue" is a killer track changing the rhythm of the album. In an underground style, the track reminds me of the old school djs whom were mixing hip-hop, spinning the vinyl in order to produce the final scratch. Excellent track, which clears the jaundices that a dj represents a single style. The next track is called "Deo Gratias" , a real massive techno with some strange chill elements. It is a new smooth track with no kick, and actually no rhythm. There is also included on this track a kind of church organ (and I'm not kidding). "Stay Out Of The Light" really astonished me through his underground style. A smooth bass line with a few clearly techno synths and a damn string continue the mind listener's journey. Docile rhythms with strange melody gives a powerful décor of somber and darken spaces.

A nervous and sick tune again, "Just Ride" introduce the listener in the real techno shaking atmosphere. Almost all tracks of the album are containing bizarre voices, not to mention the fact that the lyrics are less comprehensive. In a short time of a single, Dave Clarke really get there to express his conception of music. "Dirt Box" brings new tribals and techno synths and elements; it's a mad tune with a powerful bass line, which seems to be locked in a "dirt box", as the title of the track suggests. You really should be open-minded to understand this track. A fine single, a damnation of pop music, "Disgraceland" attack all other genres of music and contains new segments of techno style. It's a perfect combination between tech-house and techno music with a nice female vocal. The next track "The Wolf" really is a piece of work of art, a sick, (but sick!) tune, a dement bass line which will drives you crazy. Audacious synts and huge quality and noisy beats are faded with a perfect rhythm. I consider this track alongside the next one the best singles from the album.

"Addendum", a damn break-beat with techno elements burst with energy. Being full of bushfire, the track develops the techno culture at the first order. The bass line is absolutely amazing, and occasionally can be found some tints of melody. The next track "She'd In Parties" is a successful combination between the actual techno music and the '80s classic style of techno. A deaf kick is transposed on a perfect bass line with little elements of breaks.

I often try to make connections between the music and the real world, and sometimes this really hurts, because I can't find many elements corresponding to reality. That's why I try to live music, even if this is a cliché. This is not just music, or culture, or any other form of art – it's a way of living, to get out of the banal misery and out of the primary condition of humanity. This album doesn't have an optimistic view upon life, it reflects the real show of life. Some essential themes are featuring the entire release. It's quite funny, because firstly I didn't get Dave Clarke's sound and now I really started to love his music. We should give more space to the techno culture, because these are the roots of electronic music. So, don't be the "Devil's Advocate", let "him" judge himself.

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Dave Clarke - Devil's Advocate






November 03 2003


April 5, 2004 at 12:14 PM CEST


Dragos Rusu

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