What Lies Beneath The 'Black Stone?' : All Songs Considered The English electronic artist known as Clark takes us to a strange, hidden world underground.
NPR logo What Lies Beneath The 'Black Stone?'

What Lies Beneath The 'Black Stone?'

The latest video from English electronic artist Chris Clark (who records as Clark) is one of the most arresting short films I've seen this year. The production, from the directing duo known as The Vikings, is more movie than music (the song, "Black Stone," takes up only two of the video's five-and-a-half minutes). But the song is so beautiful and the visuals so captivating, it still feels like the right balance of sight and sound.

"Black Stone" is from Clark's gorgeous new album, Iradelphic, just out this week on Warp Records. It's his sixth full-length and most organic release to date, with more acoustic instrumentation than he normally uses. "Black Stone" is a solo piano piece. The simple but beautiful pulsing chords are set against a strange and unsettling backdrop.

"I've been wanting to work with (directors) Xander and Bjoern (The Vikings) for a while now," says Clark. "They totally nailed the look, narrative and mood, with the help of a little bit of English snow and some wonderfully disgusting insects. I can't really think of anything else like this film, which is obviously a really good sign."

Xander, half of the The Vikings duo, calls "Black Stone" an "exceptionally beautiful piece of minimalism that, appropriately enough, like a black hole, has the power to pull you in and spit you out in a far-away, parallel universe. In our story, Clark's music draws us into the dark, nether existence of a man who has lived in isolation for many years. He lives in utter darkness and is only kept company by his worms, insects and piano. We wonder what Jung would have said about this psychological fruit salad."