Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

cover art

Claro Intelecto


(Modern Love; US: 18 Mar 2008; UK: Available as import)

Metanarrativeis the elaborate-sounding title given to Claro Intelecto’s second LP since 2004’s Neurofibro. The album actually consists of a mere eight tracks and 40 minutes; they’re the slimmed-down end-product of a sifting process that began with a spread of one hundred recordings. Behind his pseudonym, Manchester, UK producer/DJ Mark Stewart crafted Metanarrative‘s sometimes jarring, dub-spattered techno for a year, following a Modern Love-issued 12” series called Warehouse Sessions.

Splintered percussive shards rattle alongside Metanarrative‘s deep bass and understated synths during the album’s first couple of tracks, but this is only a fragment of the rather fast-moving story being told here. While it’s difficult to pin down specifics, the track list (“Operation”, “Harsh Reality”, “Innocence”, “Before My Eyes”, etc.) seems to adhere to the LP title’s suggested linear thread, and Metanarrative‘s scene shifts, from the gloomy “Before My Eyes” to the downright stark “Dependant”, are evident in their overall engaging aesthetic, and not just in melody. Following “Harsh Reality”, “Innocence” plods forward heavily, with a fierce kick grounding the hi hat rattles and distant dubby hiss, elements that characterized 2007’s The Coldest Season, a hypnotic, analog-driven collection of dub techno from a Detroit/Chicago collaboration called DeepChord Presents: Echospace, or the recent Incense & Blacklight from Rod Modell, one-half of the minds behind Coldest Season.

Stewart’s work isn’t nearly as washed-out and as still as Coldest Season is; there are only similarities here. “Gone to the Dogs” begins simply with an array of shuddersome tape-delay ghosts that inhabit the DeepChord Presents… recordings, but its conspicuous throb-and-patter is all its own. Metanarrative might have benefited from more of said reverberating wafts, but to hear Stewart flirt with an all-dub sound like he does on “Gone to the Dogs”, and temper this with haunting, glacial pieces like “Beautiful Death” is arguably the best reason to play this record.


Dominic Umile is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. His work has recently appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Chicago Reader, The Comics Journal, and more. Follow: @dominicumile | Email: |

Tagged as: claro intelecto
Related Articles
9 Jul 2009
House music, years after the club, stripped and muffled under bass-damaged ears.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2015 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.