Showing posts with label clipping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clipping. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

video review: 'there existed an addiction to blood' by clipping.

Well, this was a nasty, but pretty damn great listen. Hope you all enjoy the analysis - enjoy!

album review: 'there existed an addiction to blood' by clipping.

I've had the suspicion for a long time that there's a subsection of critics that just don't 'get' clipping. And on some level I do include myself, in that with every listen I've given to a clipping. album I'm almost positive that I'm missing some sort of larger detail that demands deeper examination, either in the noisy, experimental glitch of the production or Daveed Diggs' snarled, endlessly charismatic wordplay. More to the point, clipping. has not really stuck with any clear tradition or arc in hip-hop: their self-titled debut was as much of a ruthless parody of the brutality of the streets as its production still managed to generate some of the most experimental but accessible bangers of the decade. And yet after Daveed Diggs starred in Hamilton, you'd think the easy path would be to slightly more conventional hip-hop to capitalize on that success... so let's make Splendor & Misery, an even more convoluted and thorny hip-hop space opera in the tradition of Deltron 3030 that brought in elements of spoken word, icier textures, and even blues and southern gospel. 

And thus when I've seen the mixed critical reception to There Existed An Addiction To Blood, characterizing the album as horrorcore thanks to its title reference to the 1970s experimental horror film Ganja & Hess, which is a project exploring black vampirism as an extended metaphor for addiction, cultural assimilation, white imperialism, and religion, and considering in some cases you don't see any of those added depths even being discussed, you get the impression that a lot of folks have missed the point. Hell, you can make the argument that most haven't even bothered doing the research to articulate any point to begin with, but you should all know that's not how I make reviews, so here we go: what did we get from There Existed An Addiction To Blood?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

the top 50 best songs of 2016

I've gone on record that this list in particular is always the hardest to make. Refining a list of songs that I've covered on albums I've reviewed over the course of the year - which numbers in the thousands of songs - down to a select six hundred or so, then down to a subset of just under 200... and then the final fifty. Suffice to say, there's always a lot to cover.

But I have to say, this year felt easier than others. I'd say part of it is that I'm getting a better handle on my organization going into these lists, but that would assume I've got some inkling of what I'm doing here. I think the larger factor is that the truly amazing songs that monopolized my year - the top 35 or so - they fell into place remarkably quickly, and that made ironing out the details easier than I expected. Maybe it was because it was easier for me to get passionate about some of these tracks than before, because if you ventured away from the mainstream Hot 100, there was a lot of great music in 2016. Away from the charts there was great metal, rock, synthpop, hip-hop, and especially country, which had one of its best years in recent memory, and fair warning, there's going to be a lot of it on this list.

As always, the songs had to appear on any one of the albums I reviewed - singles or deep cuts, all are possible, so no more wasting time, we have a lot to get through! So let's start off crazy with...

Monday, September 12, 2016

video review: 'splendor & misery' by clipping.

Oh, I expect the responses to this album to be all over the map - I only ask you actually give it a real chance before dismissing it as pretentious and up-its-own-ass (which, yeah, it kind of is, but in the right way).

Next up... probably Bastille or Angel Olsen if I can get back on schedule and give NIck Cave a few more listens to really sink in... stay tuned!

album review: 'splendor & misery' by clipping.

There will be two sets of people who will see this review.

The first set are those who know what clipping. is, the experimental rap trio signed to Sub Pop who in 2014 dropped their debut which remains one of the best records of that year and featuring some of their best ever songs. A trio known in the underground for explosively distorted music, twisted samples, and the sheer mindbending wordplay of Daveed Diggs, I know why all of you are here. You know what clipping. is and the meticulous yet delirious intensity with which they approach their work, and how their newest concept album experiment makes all too much sense for an act that has a knack for storytelling...

But let's get brutally honest, you're not the set of people I'm worried about. I'm talking about you, the people who saw Hamilton - or more likely just got the soundtrack - and were entranced by Daveed Diggs' insane skills as a rapper, which won him a Grammy and Tony earlier this year. From there you might have heard that this guy had a group dropping an album this year and were curious to hear more - maybe it would be like Hamilton? So let me disabuse you all of some notions: this is not going to be like 'Hamilton'. The theater that Diggs was involved with before Hamilton was experimental, the stuff that would never land on Broadway in a million years, and clipping. is even further away from that, in production and content. And this record looked to be pushing in even weirder directions: heralded as a hip-hop space opera - of which I hoped was a lot more Deltron 3030 than Shabazz Palaces or Logic - this is an album that was looking to push its high concept to the limit. Of course, you'd expect that from a group where one member has a Ph.D with a dissertation on experimental music and who is influenced by Tim Hecker and Death Grips, but if all you know is that 'Daveed Diggs was in Hamilton', you might run screaming for the hills before giving this record its fair consideration. And hey, you'll be in fair company, there are plenty of critics who have dismissed this project rather than admit they don't get it. So if you're expecting something accessible or easy to take in, this is your change to clear off now, friendly warning.

Are they gone? Good, so let's dig into Splendor & Misery - does it live up to some high expectations?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the top 50 best songs of 2014 (part ii: 25-1) (VIDEO)

And there's part two. One last list to come, stay tuned!

the top 50 best songs of 2014

And now onto the third list, and by far one of the hardest to make. This year I discussed 210 albums and from there I had just under 700 songs that I considered eligible for this list. From there, the task of narrowing it down and ranking them was excruciatingly difficult, because I want to make sure this list was of the best of the best, and even with that I had to make some painful cuts. And once again, keep in mind these are not the hits. We have singles and deep cuts here, from artists who are defiantly mainstream to those lodged deep in the underground. And one more thing: for a song to land on this list, it has to have been released from an album I reviewed this year. If it was just a single, it doesn't cut it - but on a contrary note, if the single dropped last year or even the year before and the album was only released now... well, it qualifies in my books.

But enough wasting time, let's get this started with...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

Holy shit, this video took hours. Really happy with it... except for some of the volume levels on the music, but that was such a pain in the ass to get right that I'm fine with where they are.

Next up, Mastodon. Stay tuned!

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

I've been debating with myself pretty consistently over the past few weeks whether or not to make this. It's a pretty common thing with critics to take stock of their favourites at this point of the year, and considering I've covered 108 albums thus far this year, in terms of sheer volume it'd make sense for me to go back and take stock of what I've heard and what deserves consideration going into the second half of the year. And while I'm leery about spoiling my year-end list, long-time fans will probably be able to figure that out anyways, so why not go the extra mile and draw a spotlight to some acts that are definitely worth the consideration. 

So without further ado:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

video review: 'clppng' by clipping

Man, this album is only getting better every time I'm listening to it. Holy shit, this was fun.

Next up, I'm taking a brief break from hip-hop and diving back to country. Miranda Lambert and Lucy Hale coming up soon, so stay tuned!

Friday, June 6, 2014

album review: 'clppng' by clipping

Well, I knew this day would come. I knew that as soon as I started covering hip-hop, and especially after I really quite liked the most recent release from Ratking, I'd have to dive into the noisy, eclectic, and inaccessible subgenre of noise hop. A very new genre, one inspired by the experimental fusion between noise rock and hardcore gangsta rap, it was one I was always tentative to approach. Because let's face it, while I do listen to some experimental and abrasive music, I do like some trappings of conventionality or at least recognizable song structures and melodies. And while I loved Swans' most recent record, I also know that I only really came to embrace the band in full when they started incorporating more melodic progressions into their music. And given that I wasn't really a huge fan of what I had heard from the output of acts like Death Grips, I was a little uneasy about looking up an act like Clipping, so I looked up their first album Midcity and...

Well, if I was looking for the perfect transitional act between traditional horrorcore gangsta rap and the paranoid noisy insanity of Death Grips, it would be Clipping - and yeah, I really dig it. The bizarre thing about Clipping is that once you get past the explosively jagged noise, there is undercurrents of melody and depth to these mixes and Daveed Diggs is a damn impressive spitter, although not the traditional sort of visceral MC that comes with this sort of experimental music. My issues with the act were issues of content and the MC himself - while I definitely like Diggs' flow and lyrical construction, and appreciated the moments where he seemed to be showing the unstable anarchy and bloody emptiness lurking beneath the trapping of gangsta rap, there were moments that his flow got a little less intense and his punchlines got a little corny. For the most part, however, it was noise rap that I surprisingly liked, and when I heard they had signed to Sub Pop Records, I was curious to see what would come out of it. Would they attempt even more mainstream accessibility - well, to the extent any noise rap is accessible - or would they double down on the weirdness?