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Album Review

Claro Intelecto is Mark Stewart — not the On-U Sound Mark Stewart but the Manchester-based Mark Stewart — who several years ago was deeply embedded in the IDM and electro scenes and then began to work in a more minimalist, Manchester-meets-Berlin vein on his Warehouse Sessions EPs. With a new moniker and a new full-length album, Stewart brings together all of his earlier influences to create a sound that is nevertheless something of a departure from all of them. Metanarrative is often dry and sometimes even a bit arch in tone, but it's never chilly or standoffish; "Harsh Reality," in particular, is melancholy and strangely beautiful, with clouds of harmony floating around a simple and almost monolithic beat. "Gone to the Dogs," on the other hand, is dark and glitchy, with a somewhat eerie and foreboding mood, while "Nodrex" nicely juxtaposes a strutting rhythm with a contemplative chord progression. "Innocence" misses the chance to do something very interesting: the hints of Latin rhythm are intriguing in a minimal electro context, but the piece ends up noodling around aimlessly and never becomes as interesting as it should have. But "Beautiful Death" ends the program on a quiet and gently regretful note, completing an arc of moods and textures that makes the album an impressive listening experience overall. Recommended.


Born: Manchester, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

One of the central producers on Manchester's IDM-oriented Ai label, Mark Stewart debuted his Claro Intelecto alias in 2003 with the Peace of Mind 12". Both tracks from the A-side fared well; the title cut wound up on several year-end DJ lists and "Contact" was included on Ricardo Villalobos' Taka Taka mix album. In early 2004, Stewart released a second 12" (Section), and a full-length — Neurofibro, named after a genetic disease that he has suffered from — followed in late April. As with...
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Metanarrative, Claro Intelecto
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