News on Aphex Twin, Chris Clark, Warp, Pepe Deluxe, Funky Lowlives, Kruder & Dorfmeister, drum'n'bass DJ Patife and female Brazilian vocalist Fernanda Porto

To Aphex Or Not To Aphex: Warp Presents Chris Clark

U.K. independent label Warp has been at the forefront of empirical electronic music for most of its existence. Counting the Two Lone Swordsmen, Squarepusher, and Aphex Twin amongst its roster, from its north London base Warp offers a chosen few that elusive license to experiment on vinyl: a lifeline for tortuous producers whose sporadic output might otherwise be confined to bedroom studios and analogue synth conventions. Warp's latest acquisition is producer Chris Clark, who makes his unusual debut for the label with the release of a mini-album, "Clarence Park" on April 2.

Raised on a diet of early Aphex Twin and the Black Dog, Clark is already being hailed by his press camp as Aphex Twin mainman Richard D. James' successor. "Hmmm," muses the 21 year-old, currently pursuing his English studies in the city of Bristol. "I think only people who don't really listen to electronic music compare my stuff to Aphex."

Much like his output, which swings between lilting ambience and electro-thrash indulgence, Clark is a walking anomaly. His musical reference points range from John Coltrane to Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills, to the obscure, dissected beats and samples of Brighton's People Like Us ("I went through quite a heavy period of just making mental sounds in my bedroom after listening to that," he admits). He also cites avant-garde Novamute innovator Cristian Vogel' 1996 "Demolish Serious Culture EP" (Sativae) as influential.

Seduced by a friend's home studio in the mid-'90s, he swapped his stint as a drummer in a teenage punk band for the joys of a sampler. Beginning with rare groove analog synth experiments, he gradually improved enough to send his first demo tape to Warp at just 15 years of age.

A&R man Greg Eden spotted a talent that needed developing and advised Clark to continue experimenting and sending new material. Meanwhile, the smattering of offers made by independent local labels were politely declined. "I could have released something earlier," reckons Clark, "but I wanted to hold out for a decent label." In other words, a label for whom the artist's creative license was paramount.

Warp's original intentions were to include just one of his tracks on a compilation, but this quickly grew to the possibility of an EP and finally the mini-album that is "Clarence Park." A regular performer at Warp's respected Nesh parties, the Clark word is spreading fast. And with his apparent aptitude for giving convention the finger, he promises to be a worthy addition to the label's roster.


Dorfmeister Stamp Of Approval For Funky Lowlives

Richard Dorfmeister, of respected Austrian production duo Kruder & Dorfmeister and G-Stone Recordings, is rumored to be interested in U.K. bossa-rhythm/afro-funk duo the Funky Lowlives (aka John Whitehouse and Gary Danks). The Lowlives began their careers on London-based nu-jazz label Ascension Records and have been generating their breed of soulful, Latin-influenced grooves for just over two years now.

Already counting Joe Clausell, Francois K, and David Byrne amongst their many fans, the act turned in remixes for Master's At Work's "Brazilian Beat EP" on the cult Mr. Bongo label at the tail end of last year. They're currently demoing material for their debut album.


DJ Patife And Fernanda Porto Bring Brazil To London

London based drum'n' bass promoters Movement launched their latest initiative, Movement Live, based at the Cargo venue in London's east end this month. The first event supported their infamous predilection for all rhythms Brazilian and featured drum'n'bass DJ Patife and female Brazilian vocalist Fernanda Porto.

They performed Patife's enormously popular remix of her "Sambassim" track, which has been receiving support from Talkin' Loud Records boss Giles Peterson since late last year. The cut looks set to be massive in the U.K. this year when it eventually gets a release on Bryan Gee's V Recordings label.


Pepe Deluxe Sign Deal With Sony Music

Sony Music has signed a licensing deal with Finnish band Pepe Deluxe for their forthcoming single "Before You Leave" (used as the soundtrack to the latest Levi's Twisted Denim commercial) and their debut album "Super Sound." The single and album, which were originally released on Brighton-based Catskills Records in 1999, will be re-released April 30 and May 14, respectively.

Sony followed the band's development for over a year before making them an offer. The deal, with Sony's INCredible branch, covers the world outside of North America. Catskills' co-founder Jonny Reggae said, "As an independent label we realize our limitations. The partnership with Sony will enable us to expose Pepe Deluxe to the wider audience that their music deserves."