"Diane" · Dakota Clark
uploaded to 8bitcollective
Hailing from Puyallup, Washington, Dakota Clark is probably better known within the Chipmusic community as Oven Rake. Most of his work (dark and churning, driven by heavy beats that wouldn’t be out of place in a sweaty basement full of bobbing heads) had passed in and out of my radar simply because it wasn’t what I felt like listening to at the time. Then I heard “Swimming Pool.”
Maybe “heard” isn’t the right word. Saw. I hit play and I could see it. It was exactly the way Harris Savides would photograph someone floating face up in an illuminated pool at night in a Gus Van Sant film. The song represented a complete departure from everything else I had heard by him prior to that (though, having gone back and listened to them again, I can definitely hear the seeds of this newer material buried in there) and I crossed my fingers, hoping there was more to come. I was not disappointed.
Two more equally rich ambient tracks, “Diane” and “We Only Kiss When You Are Drunk" (great title), eventually emerged and I would go on to use all three of these in various film projects. When I emailed Oven Rake about how he’d like to be credited, he asked that I use his given name — drawing a clear line of separation between two diametrically opposed projects.
I’d like to think that (and this is just my interpretation as one listener) the Oven Rake material was meant to fit in seamlessly with all the other Chipmusic he had absorbed over the years and that the newer stuff represents a more genuine expression of who Dakota Clark, the musician, actually is, regardless of what instrument he used to make it. It’s a natural process and I can totally relate to it myself. You open up your tracking program for the first time and it’s just easier and more instantly gratifying to write something dance-y (the dreaded Unce-Unce-Unce…). But eventually, you stick with it long enough and your own voice begins to take shape.
For me, right now, nothing represents Dakota’s voice more purely than “Diane.” Where “Swimming Pool” established one clear, cinematic shot in my mind, “Diane” depicts a whole, heartbreaking scene. I’ll leave the specifics out of it for now so as not to color your interpretation of it but hearing this leaves me feeling like I need a drink and a long nap.
I recently had the pleasure of hearing this track live (and providing the projected visuals for it…!) a few days ago at the first dataPort (a monthly Chip/lo-fi/experimental series in Portland, OR) and got really excited when he started laying in some accents with an Omnichord (one of my favorite instruments). Definitely keep your eyes on this guy. I have a feeling some really interesting stuff is on the way.