clipping.: CLPPNG (Sub Pop)
CD / DL / LP
clipping. stormed into our top ten albums of the year list last year with midcity, an album so well received it resulted in the band being signed to Subpop. Their follow up to midcity dropped a few weeks ago. Simon Tucker’s review can be found below.
Formed in 2009, LA Hip-Hop trio clipping. follow up their critically acclaimed 2013 debut album Midcity with CLPPNG, an album which mixes many traditional elements of the genre with noise, avante-funk, techno and musique concrète, making an album that excites and disappoints in many ways.
clipping. are producers Jonathan Snipes, William Hutson and rapper Daveed Diggs and each member brings their other careers (Snipes composes music for films, Hutson is an established noise music artist, and Diggs is a stage actor) into the project which, when it works, creates a joyously heady brew which will test some listeners limits but will resonante and connect with many more.
There are a few standout tracks on the album worth mentioning. They include the heavy slam of Taking Off which is the most political song on the album and one where the music and the lyrics combine perfectly (and which contains a sensous jazz sax running through it, popping up from under the surface every now and then to extremely evocative effect.
Story 2 uses tempo changes better than any song of the last five years, building and building relentlessly until you are left gasping for breath.
Dreams is pure noir, full of drug psychosis and ambience and is a ingenious example of less-is-more as the music seems to lurk in the shadows, not fully revealing itself but always being there behind you, breathing on your neck.
Body and Blood (check nsfw video below) is another example of the three members locking in sync perfectly as we are treated to a techno slam while Diggs rhymes about a femme fatale who’d do anything to get what she wants.
Unfortunately, whilst there are these perfect moments, there are also some moments where you feel the the mixture of influnces have not melded together so well. Like on Get Up where the trio use an alarm clock as a rhythymic device but instead of using it in a way that morphs and intrigues, the simple beat just becomes monotonous.
Inside Out comes on like stutter G-Funk but just ends up stuttering and, worst of all, Tonight with it’s full of clichéd misogyny (the only good thing about Tonight is the change that occurs halfway through, but instead of being an exciting moment it just highlights how poor the first half was). In fact, it is mostly the rapping on CLPPNG that lets it down as, musically, the album is nearly pefect. An instrumental version would be incredible.
CLPPNG is certainly worth checking out and it does show that clipping. themselves are a very interesting trio who are capable of magic. Fewer rap clichés and they could take on the world.
The guys have one UK date coming up, an ATP show on 15th / 16th August. Details.
The band have also compiled an awesome mix detailing some of their influences.
All words by Simon Tucker, find his Luder Than War archive here.