Clipping - Midcity [Review/Free Download] - Idol Threat: Warning Shots at the Mainstream


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Clipping - Midcity [Review/Free Download]

Clipping is a Los Angeles based trio that consists of noise artist William Hutson (Rale), film soundtrack composer Jonathan Snipes (ex-Captain Ahab) and MC Daveed Diggs. What started as a remix project for the collective has turned into a full-fledged Noise-rap group which resulted in this free mixtape: Midcity.  One would assume the combination of said genres would either sound like Mike Ladd, Anti-Pop Consortium, Saul Williams or Kool Keith spitting spoken word or screaming over a wall of screech and industrial percussion - but Clipping shuns the obvious avant-garde references and creates something unique by approaching the synthesis rather traditionally.

Most of the album is actually pretty minimalistic besides some bursts of distortion, mashing up musique concrete and ambient soundscapes with lyrical gangster rap as opposed to being a continual onslaught of feedback and growls.  The sound may be too mellow for the extreme harsh noise listener but the sparseness itself is what will make this palpable to the uninitiated.  Parts of the skittering tracks can even pass for IDM or Glitch Hop.  Bass pulses, static and rhythmic noise samples replace traditional drum beats while Daveed trades extremely acrobatic rhymes and sometimes tongue twisting verses in-between and over the chaos.  Although talented, Digg's rapping doesn't stray too far from the norm despite the experimental backdrop and so getting turnt, swag, droppin E, fuckin bitches and all around thuggery dominate the subject matter so much that all you would need is the latest trap music or drill beats behind these lyrics and you have a hit radio album.  This may come off as frivolous on paper but luckily its all delivered with the same seriousness as the level of skill present by all. 

This is probably the only album you’ll ever hear harsh noise bursts over auto-tuned hooks and for good reason, the combination of these 2 genres is a delicate balance that only a few can pull off.  Hardcore Hip Hop heads probably won’t like this (if you found Death Grips or the latest CX Kidtronik album too abrasive you will HATE this) and noise traditionalists won’t like the musical gentrification it may bring so purists of either side will steer clear - but fans of experimental music will definitely want to give this a try.  There is some good noise and some great Hip Hop here (there’s even some scratching present) but right now the two are more like roommates than a marriage and I’m anxiously awaiting the birth of something new when they finally tie the knot. Be on the lookout for their Sub Pop debut early next year which has the potential to be a very polarizing classic.

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