Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 10 Dance & Electronic

9. Clark
(Warp Records)

Chris Clark's cerebral approach to techno is perhaps at its most freewheeling on his self-titled seventh album, but that's not to suggest that it's anywhere near just good fun. Rather, Clark is a moody, often gorgeous record that's focused, perhaps more sharply than any other artist in his field this year, on texture. There's a depth to these compositions that makes them feel almost tangible: the scraping of the sub-bass against gritty snares on "Winter Linn"; the sheer thickness of the synth slabs that close "Sodium Trimmers"; the dizzying vertical distance between the shuffling cymbal brushes and twinkling celeste on "Snowbird."

There are too many ideas here — all of them good ones — to make it a cohesive record, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a concept that unifies it, but few records this year offer the same immersive quality that Clark does so consistently across its 50-minute runtime. There are no singles here, and no hooks: Clark is a journey designed to get lost on along the way. (Stephen Carlick)