- Sludge at the border of house and techno.
- Whenever a new Claro Intelecto EP hits record shops, I use it as an excuse to listen to "Instinct," a track he released on Modern Love in 2007. It might not be Mark Stewart's best or best-known track, but it's inventively dubby, hi-def and seriously heavy—qualities that, for me, place him among the more talented house and techno artists we've had these past couple decades. A big part of this is the way he's developed. OK, so you might guess that the same artist who made that track from 2007 produced Forgotten Wasteland, this new EP for Delsin. But that would belie the impressive range of house, techno and experimental music to which Stewart has applied his sonic imprint.
With "Sniffer Dogs," we also get a bit of "knackered house," the tongue-in-cheek genre tag that Stewart and his former collaborator Andy Stott picked up a few years ago. It's a particularly grubby example. The beat is 90 sludges per minute, while the chords, although dazzling, can barely be arsed to keep pace. Elsewhere, Stewart is feeling friskier. At 112 BPM, "Sirens" will be slow by many DJs' standards, but there is plenty more forward momentum in its rattling beat. "The Thunderdome" is a crisply produced techno cut that melts some of its menace with synth chords (a favourite move of Stewart's), while "Messages" is the most immediately approachable thing here, thanks to its enveloping melody and pads, and its coordinates at the border of house and techno.
A1 The Thunderdome
A2 Sniffer Dogs