Princess Stomper

The Age of Clank: Why Genres are Important

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I had a particular interest in clank because the word “clank” sounds so very industrial. Before that most cyberpunk of genres died a slow and painful death at the turn of the century, a few records started coming out that were lurching in a new and potentially very exciting direction. The ones that most caught my attention were by Ohgr (Ogre from Skinny Puppy with Ruby’s Mark Walk) and Haloblack (Motor’s Bryan Black, Chemlab’s Jared Louche and 16 Volt’s Eric Powell).

The trouble is that both albums were ignored, and you know what happens to ignored albums: they gather dust in a warehouse somewhere. There must have been some sort of strange cosmic event, because somehow these records cross-pollinated with ‘Call Me Al’ and clank was born.

Finding clank is like thinking your favourite plant is dead, tossing it into the garden shed to store it before you can take it to the tip, and then opening the door to find that it has just somehow … takenover. Clank is everywhere!

This serendipitous turn of events works especially well, because what Ogre and Bryan were doing didn’t have much to do with industrial’s heritage and didn’t fit in there at all. It was too vibrant, too colourful. Clanky, but not angry enough. I don’t think any of these clanksters are particularly angry about anything: they just like making a fuckload of noise because it’s fun.

(continues overleaf)

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5 Responses to The Age of Clank: Why Genres are Important

  1. Matt O'Neill September 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Pretty great article.

    Clank can’t be a genre, though. It lacks hyphens, prefixes and suffixes. It just doesn’t work. Now, post-clank, clankwave, nu-clank, clankstep, proto-clank, clankcore, clank-rock, indie-clank or any combination of the above (proto-indie-clankwave, post-nu-clankcore) – those are genres.

  2. Libby September 26, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    All of this music is god awful. Throw “clank” in the bin now.

  3. Chris Razor September 26, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Nice article, Princess, and some superb examples. The Nice Nice track you picked is precisely what I had in mind (and I have to thank Lucy Cage for first opening my ears to that one.)

    I would hate to think, though, that “clank” might come to signify a very specific sound, or worse that bands would *try* to make it. (“I’m not getting back in the van until you say we’re clank.”) For me it’s enough to know there’s something exciting and raw and new happening and to have a rough handle on it. The second person to be accurately described as making Matt’s “post-nu-clankcore” will have entirely missed the point, the fun, the exploration, the exhilaration of making music.

  4. Princess Stomper September 27, 2011 at 5:45 am

    @ Matt – well, I could argue that Ohgr’s first album was proto-clank. 😉

    @ Libby – so when I went to Amazon and immediately stocked up on the tunes I’d listed because I just couldn’t live without them, that was the wrong thing to do? Who knew!

    @ Chris – glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I really love that Nice Nice track. Thanks, Lucy! I’m not sure that I agree with the bit about bands not trying to sound a certain way. It depends how it’s done. I mean, in all innocence, it’s plain inspiration. You hear something, think it sounds great, and realise that beat just fits with the lyrics you thought up yesterday and then it all somehow gels. That’s great. On the other hand, I’d hate the idea of some record company telling (since they’re this week’s whipping boy) Gotye that he needs to sound more clank.

  5. Mike September 28, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Yes! More glock-rock!

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