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Clatterbox

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Biography

Although the London-based Clear label kicked off its now-celebrated catalog of releases with singles from a range of widely known talent (Reload/Global Communication, Mike Paradinas/µ-Ziq, Acen, and Plaid), they were also quick to cultivate a homegrown stable of lo-fi innovators, including Matthew "Dr. Rockit" Herbert and David "Clatterbox" Kempston. Like Herbert, whose singles and remixes as Wishmountain (for Universal Language) and under his own name (for Phono, Reflective, and SSR, among others) have mined the more pedestrian capacities of the sampler, Clatterbox's sound is reliant on a sort of refined, left-field minimalism. With tracks often composed of only three or four loops judiciously arranged, Kempston's work occasionally suffers for its simplicity. But as with early hip-hop producers such as Man Parrish, the Unknown DJ, and "Pretty" Tony Butler, Kempston's aesthetic forces him to make a little go a long way, often to marvelous effect. It's hip-hop and electro from which Kempston most often draws, of course, but unlike many of the electro nu-school, his sound is hardly retro; tracks such as "Matterrox" and "Dunk" may tip their hat here and there with thick, talk box-y bass, handclaps, and rubbery synth work, but his fusion of elements from a range of sources (funk, house, experimental techno, industrial/EBM) with a characteristic humor and knack for extracting musicality from the oddest of sources defies easy dismissal. In addition to his material as Clatterbox proper, Kempston has also released a pair of 12"s on Clear simply titled "Clatterbeats"; stripped-down vignettes intended for DJ use rather than home listening. ~ Sean Cooper

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Birth Name:

David Kempston

Genre
Years Active:

'90s

Influencers

Contemporaries