More diseased-sounding noise-electronics hip-hop from Clipping. Splendor & Misery is something of a concept album, telling an Afrofuturist space story with narrative touches as heavy as the harsh-blast soundscapes they flow over. Indeed, the album’s sounds are intended to be the sounds of the imagined space slave-ship the story takes place on. Out via Sub Pop.
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LP £16.99 SP1173X
Limited indies only CLEAR vinyl 'Loser Edition' LP on Sub Pop.
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Abrasive noise hip-hop, etc: you know the gimmick by now, so we can rest assured that clipping. are worth their hype, make pulse-altering and occasionally ear-splintering music while remaining extremely hard to type words about on account of their format-punctuating name. They don’t sound like Merzbow on ‘Splendor & Misery’, and the strands of feedback are dialled back into the hidden code of the record, the endless slew of sounds instead billowing through the record for us to forage. The result? A space saga.
Wrecking its way to us just in time for No Man’s Sky, clipping. have tempered a sporadic mix of swelling ambience, tinkering electronics and pickpocketing beats into a sci-fi concept album. At the fore of it all are Daveed Diggs’ lyrics, given a new fractured force: they carry the narrative of the record fast and loose, detailing and abstracting, piling on present tense commentary while throwing out mantras of the sky and references to the ground below, such as Kendrick’s verse on Big Sean’s “Control”. The noise, this time, is passing by at lightspeed, rumbling through the end of “Interlude 01” like debris or cutting its teeth between “Long Way Away” and “The Breach”. Disparate are the sound and vocals, Diggs’ raps often obscured in shifting sound that seems to be personifying ship corridors and control stations.
Don’t let me know if you find it corny: prog is prog is prog, and this record is never anything but gripping -- so damn the pulpy expense. “Wake Up” seamlessly mixes its plethora of danceable verse/chorus hooks alongside the noisy calamity of a core meltdown, trusting you’ll be able to jam and panic at the same time. “Air ‘Em Out” strains for a record single while devoting itself to the record’s cohesive storyboard, bringing the beats as simply as it can while giving the track yet another whirring alarm and impending doom. Weirdly, it’s one of the record’s most busy tracks, soldering discordant ambient layers and breathy fog atop the record’s most obvious hook. It’s fun to hear Diggs just playing out ‘Splendor & Misery’, considering it sounds like one long journey towards the sun. “Whatcha gonna do about it”, right?
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