clipping.
CLPPNG


4.5
superb

Review

by MercuryToHell CONTRIBUTOR (40 Reviews)
June 15th, 2015 | 24 replies


Release Date: 06/10/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: ... in which a middle-class, white English boy battles valiantly not to lose his audience.

It’s bad form for a reviewer to hit the ground running with too much of an insight into themselves, but I feel it serves this piece to at least acknowledge the following:
I am, at best, a casual hip-hop listener – raised on Eminem like every late 90’s teenager, and just about scratching the surface of the wider world after a few late nights in front of MTV2 and trips round the record stores taking a puerile glance at everything with a parental advisory sticker.

But nothing really resonated – beyond the tongue-in-cheek bars and threatening swagger, I guess it just didn’t hold anything for me.

Enter Clipping.

From the first few seconds of the intro track, it becomes apparent that this is not a group content with standing atop the ivory tower bragging to those below – these guys will grab the listener by the collar and drag them into the cold, uncaring underworlds, the blissfully serene dreamscapes, and visceral fantasies that this record has to offer.

The production has a consistently abrasive electronic feel that that cleverly slides between subtle but jagged basslines, breathy fluttering synth patterns and strong foundations of power electronics – and all without sacrificing the really accessible hooks that give the album it’s structure.
You won’t find any clean 808 loops here – these sounds snarl.

Take the single ‘Body And Blood’ for example.
Atonal growls, drills, hisses and crashes make up the gruesome backbone of this track, but when powered by a relentless bass-heavy kick, one can’t help but be drawn in.
The lyrics are macabre and gruesome in equal measure, detailing almost a rallying call for a femme fatale cannibalistic serial killer, and somehow the end product is not just accessible, but it almost encourages you to dance.
Curveball, indeed.

While we’re on the subject of singles, bear in mind that 6 of these tracks have had videos released for them – Clipping don’t give off the impression that they want to put out an album that’s hard to crack: the individual songs all have immediate replay value, which is ultimately refreshing considering the composite parts that make up this record.

Daveed Diggs as an MC is a fascinating prospect on his own – immaculate flows and jarring lyrical imagery never once sound at odds with the constant shifting landscape of the production.
His most rewarding parts however, come about in the tracks ‘Summertime’, ‘Inside Out’, ‘Work Work’ and ‘Or Die’ when he pulls the listener into a vivid scene of a life surrounded by drugs, murder, corrupt authority and chaos, only to stop dead and say ‘this is our day-to-day, it’s not fair so face it’.
It’s this kind of detached resignation that makes the album such a compelling listen – Diggs is always capable of projecting such despair with 100% conviction.

This is not hip-hop that exists to smirk at those who have less than the storyteller, this is pleading with you to feel the struggle.

Even on the extremely divisive track ‘Tonight’, this attitude leaves a bitter yet moreish taste that only seems to manifest itself when you take in the album as a whole.
The empty endeavour of basing a ‘successful’ night out at the club on whether or not you get laid isn’t being glorified here, even if the auto-tune and ‘come ‘n’ get it’ back and forth of the vocals would have you believe otherwise.
There’s a sad inevitability in the search for sex, as guest MC Gangsta Boo opines;
'Lookin' for a victim, caught him slippin', I just want some sex
Nothing else to do when I leave the club so that's the best thing next.'

And in this track (alongside ‘Inside Out’, ‘Work Work’ and ‘Dominoes’) another underlying surprise pulls you in: throughout, this album has a remarkably well-delivered pop aspect to it.
It is truly unique in that the harsh monotone of the vocals alongside the obscure and violent production can carry off this overall sound – but Clipping are not fazed by the challenge they have set themselves here.
This should, for all intents and purposes, be an art piece, a subtle and brooding affair that only rewards the most observant of listeners, but it never alienates, it never loses sight of it’s primary function as a rap album, and the consistent novel ideas are always kept reigned in to maximize the potential of these songs, and this is it’s defining strength.

If ‘clppng.’ does have a downfall, it is the wholly unnecessary John Cage-inspired ending track ‘Williams Mix’ – in which jarring snippets of the preceding 13 tracks are played at complete odds with each other.
It’s an interesting principle, but the entirety of the album to this point has shown how simultaneously unconventional and accessible this record is, and this causes it to fall off from an anti-climatic sour point.

However, this is a subtle inconvenience, and there are countless gratifying moments for those who choose to embrace this superb album.

Bleak has never sounded so much fun.



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user ratings (464)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
RivalSkoomaDealer (4)
A bold leap toward making experimental hip-hop both accessible and flat out fun....


Comments:Add a Comment 
MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've tried my best to abandon the TBT style that muddied down my first review.

All feedback requested and appreciated.

But please do listen to this album if you haven't already.

Hands down - my AOTY 2014.

LivingThrowaway
June 15th 2015


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Decent review. A couple of things:



- The prefacing first paragraph, although creating context, is probably unnecessary, especially seeing as it doesn't take part elsewhere in your argument/review...



- some of the formatting is whack. Might just be me, idk.



- put quotation marks around lyrics as they are, indeed, quotes



- try to avoid starting sentences with prepositions/conjunctions such as "but" and "and". It is grammatically looked down upon (and is arguably incorrect)



Otherwise, I always found the noisy edge gimmicky more than anything -- probably amplified by the fact that I listen to a lot of noise and PE. Not the biggest fan of this, although unique, it feels sloppy and "style over substance" to an extent.



Edit: upon reading again, I noticed you didn't italicise or bold anything... Do you know how to? If so, I would recommend italicising lyrics and song titles.



Edit 2: there are also some sections that don't flow together (i.e. Connections between some ideas from sentence-to-sentence are vague/difficult to follow).

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn, I knew I was gonna forget something - those lyrics do look awfully out of place as a result!

I will definitely take on board the rest of your feedback so thankyou - I intentionally didn't carry on the first-person narrative throughout as I didn't really want it to take a commanding theme, I know it's not particularly well-liked as a writing style!

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I thought I knew how to but apparently not - I was using square brackets and b + /b?

LivingThrowaway
June 15th 2015


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah, [ b] and [ /b] etc. (excluding the spaces of course)...



"I intentionally didn't carry on the first-person narrative throughout as I didn't really want it to take a commanding theme, I know it's not particularly well-liked as a writing style!"



I understand the intention, but in this case, as it only serves to preface the review, and makes no appearance after that, it renders itself redundant/irrelevant... Still, keep it in for the time being, as I don't think it takes anything away from the review.





MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Will do.

Thanks again, I will definitely try and iron out the creases!

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know it's a potential can of worms seeing a lot of hate that 'Tonight' has got around the interwebs, and I definitely don't see it as a highlight when there's so much strength on offer here, but does anyone else see it fitting into the record narrative?

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2015


15749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

narrative should be about a million steps behind making a decent song in terms of priorities

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I get you...

I do still believe it's one of the lower points of the record, but I just don't see it as quite as much of a misfire as seemingly everyone else!

psandy
June 16th 2015


280 Comments


Spectacular writing style, your diction was very fitting to the mood of the album. This felt a lot less raw than death grips to me, probably because of Diggs' softer and more common-sounding voice. Also it seemed to be a very intricate piece of work. No matter how far a song would drift from its framework, it always retained a certain precise quality.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thankyou very much, hopefully that's testament to my main theme that the album so wholeheartedly drags me in!

I think the comparative lack of rawness what makes it appeal to me - I enjoy Death Grips, but where their sound feeds off the chaos and violence of their delivery, everything about this record is tight and skilfully placed, giving it a really unsettling pop vibe.

LivingThrowaway
June 16th 2015


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@cunti: Do you listen to much PE??

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I listen to precisely zero PE, 'Body + Blood' followed by a quick Wikipedia search was the first time I really had any kind of concept over what it was.

It doesn't sound a great deal like something I could easily get into, noise music in general doesn't really appeal, but if you have any suggestions then I'll gladly check it out!

LivingThrowaway
June 16th 2015


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I thought so... I'd say personally, as a heavy listener, the beats probably fall more in line with noise than power electronics... Especially considering the fact that power electronics is partially made up of screamed and effect-laden vocal diatribes.

If you want to check out some PE you can check my list:

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=985848&listid=158467

My other list is on another much less rewarding sub genre of noise so I'd probably avoid that one. PE is quite offensive (musically and thematically) so be prepared....

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 17th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll always approach with an open mind mate so thankyou very much!

Just browsing your descriptions, do you think I should start with Prurient and delve deeper?

LivingThrowaway
June 18th 2015


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Probably.... I'd say prurient is the best starting point

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've given it a go, and it's not my cup of tea - I very much appreciate the rec though, thankyou LT!

LivingThrowaway
July 4th 2015


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Not a problem, at least you gave it a go... Why did you change your username?

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2015


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think it's one of those ones that (to me, anyway...) seemed to become less and less funny every time I saw it.

So I thought I'd best go with something I can keep without it nagging at the back of my mind!

LivingThrowaway
July 4th 2015


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah, makes sense...



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