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Clams Casino

ClamsCasinoInstrumentals Vol. 3
(Download from clammyclams.com)

It’s hard to find the right approach from which to listen to this latest effort from the hyped hip hop producer Clams Casino. The songs for the most part are intricate and skilfully produced, often using granular synthesis and disembodied loops that call to mind Oneohtrix Point Never and Balam Acab. But they are packaged with club-friendly beats that make them more appropriate as backing tracks for artists like A$AP Rocky and Mac Miller. At its best, this combination creates a vehicle for rich pieces of sound art to reach a wider audience. On the other, it can feel like the addition of a user friendly beats can lower the value of its more abstract elements. LVL, first heard on Rocky’s Long. Live. A$AP, is a great demonstration of Clams’ knack for drawing interesting textures from looped samples, but cuts like Hell just feel half-baked and repetitive without a lead vocal over the top. The main problem with Instrumentals Vol. 3 is that Clams Casino’s versatility means it’s hard to approach the mixtape as a singular, cohesive piece. Each track on its own can be appreciated for the skill and artistry with which it’s built, but as a long player the songs just don’t gel enough to reward any type of listening beyond ambient background music, which given the overall quality of the work, is a pity.

PATRICK O’BRIEN

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