- The line between ambience and rhythmic propulsion is a tricky one to navigate, but few producers have done so with quite such dexterity (and for quite so long) as Mark Stewart, AKA Claro Intelecto. On Stanza, which arrives after 2012's stellar Reform Club LP and the Second Blood EP, Stewart is at the peak of his form.
Stanza, like Stewart's early Ai releases and later records on Modern Love, lashes together ambience and subtle rhythms without sacrificing emotion. While "Remember" sounds like classic Stewart, all rich dubby grooves, the EP really gets going on "White Sun." Gossamer synths and specks of percussion drift and coalesce until the kick finally enters, feeling like a natural rhythmic extension. "Blank CC" is faster paced and better suited for club use. Its slithering bassline and white-hot synths are as abstract and intricate as anything Stewart has put his name to. "A Nightmare Before Bedtime" lives up to its ominous name, peppered with eerie vocal samples and scraping synths over a pattern of muddy kicks and clicks. Though it settles into a groove, it never quite feels resolved, drawing its power instead from ambiguous suspense.
A2 White Sun
B1 A Nightmare Before Bedtime
B2 Claro Intelecto - Blank CC