Clams Casino – Instrumental Mixtape 2 Clams Casino – Instrumental Mixtape 2

Last year’s Instrumental Mixtape – the first full length release from New Jersey-based producer Clams Casino – was an impressive statement of intent from 24 year old Mike Volpe; not only did it succeed in throwing hip-hop heads and electronic nerds a rare piece of common ground, but more importantly it provided some of the freshest sounding pieces of electronic music all year – ironic considering that many of them had already been used as backing tracks.

The praise was unanimous, and maybe somewhat unexpected for the physical therapy student who claims to be doing it just as a hobby – but if Volpe takes his music anything less than seriously you wouldn’t know. His music – typically backing tracks for the likes of Lil B, Soulja Boy, A$ap Rocky- is expansive and ethereal, and it demands to be listened to in sessions. Instrumental Mixtape 2 faces a sterner examination than its predecessor; it’s difficult to continue to amaze when your audience knows what’s coming.

Like Will Bevan (Burial), Volpe has a knack of taking obscure sounds and creating tracks which intoxicate. And, like his South-London counterpart, vocals are key to his sound. ‘Wassup’ would be an average hip hop backing track were it not for the ghostly vocals; so too on ‘Bass’, where the warped vocal samples are practically the track’s entire hook. But what’s perhaps most important to note about Clams Casino is that these don’t just come across as backing tracks without the vocals – they stand out as great tracks in their own right (This was perhaps most successfully articulated by several users on Twitter and Youtube last year who asserted that this version of ‘All I Need’ was completely ruined by Soulja Boy rapping over it).

Also on Instrumental Mixtape 2 is the track which set Volpe’s stock on the rise, and it’s easy to see why; the glittering ‘I’m God’ – epic in the truest sense of the word. There’s no discernible verse, chorus, or bridge- the snares, vocals and drums all bleed into each other throughout these tracks, and it lends a blissed out quality to the entire mixtape. It might not be quite as varied as last year’s outing, but there’s certainly enough creativity here – particularly in the remixes of ‘Born To Die’ and ‘Swervin’ – to suggest that Clams Casino will be a name that most will be familiar with very soon.

Tracklist (image courtesy of The Fader):

Clams Casino - Instrumental Mixtape 2, reviewed by Lemon on 2012-06-28T09:28:31-07:00 rating 3.9 out of 5

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