Return to the Cloud: Clams Casino, Trill and the new D.A.I.S.Y. age

A few years ago I was all about what later got called ‘Cloud Rap’ – Main Attracktionz, Babe Rainbow, Odd Future – I saw it as the hip hop successor to witch house and an extension of IDM. I tuned out, partly because the lyrical content wasn’t there, and listening now to the more recent likes of A$AP Rocky, Lil B etc. I was correct. Dumb rap for dumb people…sadly that meant I missed Clams Casino, a producer who thankfully releases instrumentals so you can ignore the trill (True + Real = Dumb stupid gangsta) shit. If you listen to one of his most recent releases, the Pia Mia and Chance collaboration, hopefully it’s a sign that Clams is graduating from those who didn’t graduate, and onto something smarter.

I really rate Chance and Vic Mensa, and hope Clams works more with people who know that the four elements never included guns, bitches and bling. Of course hip hop is also about speaking YOUR truth, whatever it is – but I doubt most of these people live the life, especially the likes of Drake – they’d be dead in a week.

Anyway really loving the Clams sound, as Tom from Wild Beasts put it, there’s something feminine about this. Floating, beautiful…which makes it all the odd when some B-grade rapper spits hatred and dumbness over it…these tunes deserve far better. Even working with HAIM would be a step forward (they added vocals to A$AP’s LVL, one of the few redeeming features, and I’m not a big fan of HAIM…) or maybe he should work with De La Soul?

Always saddened as a hip hop fan that all this interest in psychedelics and Molly (MDMA), even the wooziness of purple drank and disorientation of chopping and screwing didn’t lead to some new DAISY age, a Third Summer of Hip Hop Love. Where intelligence or imagination can win out over hatred, tired gangsta tropes and commercial blaxploitation. I mean contrast this with the positivity of another great beatmaker, J. Dilla with the UMMAH/Native Tongues crew and De La Soul.

Thankfully De La have returned to that and released a great mixtape called Smell the DA.I.S.Y (DA Inner Soul of Yancy). It’s recommended, and really schools those cloud rap / trill rappers into where they should be going, rather than boring us with the same old dumb gangsta fantasy selling to 14 year old white middle class boys. Positivity, intelligence, still keeping it to their truth and real (NOT realness, don’t copy drag terms please!*) and not selling out their pride or integrity:


* I was at the Tate Britain last night, they had some street fashion event and they had a talk about ‘realness’ – nothing in the blurb mentioned where that phrase came from. Sad and desperate that a vogueing/drag term has been co-opted by urban fashion without spreading the love back. Boo. Go find your own terms, or respect the source. And no, like Madonna just watching Paris Is Burning once doesn’t give you the right…

Ólafur Arnalds – Living Room Songs

I’ve been raving about Erased Tapes, and especially Ólafur Arnalds and co. for a long time now – and it’s good he’s getting some recognition via the BAFTA nomination. So to celebrate Erased Tapes have posted the full film of Living Room Songs. I played ‘Near Light’ from this last year on the podcast and it jumped out at me from all the Erased Tapes compilations – I didn’t even know it was a video! So nice to see it’s genesis here. In fact it grows an extra element, with his sister and mother on synthesisers (love the tape on the keys, obviously his sister isn’t that used to a keyboard, touches like that give it more of a homely, family feel. I’d not call it a happy song though!). (via Simon Risbridger)

East India Youth

I went to the Wild Beasts Brixton gig a few days ago. It was strangely schizophrenic in feel, like the crowd and myself love the older songs, there’s obviously a shift in the audience, with Tom Fleming asking ‘who was here when we first played this song 10 years ago?’ to utter silence he responded ‘I thought so’.

Not 10 years in my case, but certainly around the mid-late 00s, which given the response (although not as welcomed as ‘Hooting And Howling’, ‘All The King’s Men’ and an excellent ‘The Devil’s Crayon’ which was my highlight) to the newer songs and the age group, it seemed mostly people who had gotten into them in the last album or so. Which lead to strangeness where I was dancing like a loon to some songs, and the rest dancing to the more recent songs…strange thing is I’ve bought all the albums, including the last two…and I could only name a few they played (Wanderlust, Palace, – Smother is a complete blank…which is shocking because I spent weeks listening to that album, trying to get it’s downbeatness – but I suspect Present Tense will sink into a similar cloud of amnesiac meh, sadly).

Anyway the revelation was William Doyle aka East India Youth, whose song ‘Dripping Down’ must be a 6Music fave because I know it through some strange arcane osmosis (the video for it is above). I actually headed there early to catch his set, and he was late so I got to see it…mostly in dark, with glitchy 1980′s style moody video projections and hardly any light on him after the ‘hit’, he was a one-man laptop band, with guitar (or was it bass? Hard to see), mixer, keyboards…wouldn’t be surprised if he was doing the visuals too.

One thing: if you’re going to do a blackout set, cover up the glowing logo on your laptop, otherwise it looks like an advert for Apple ;-)

But he won me over as he’s like a James Blake who rather than being brought up on new age and folk, has been fed Berghain techno and big room house from an early age, as well as the ability to pen a decent song, rather than mope over substep beat. I mean, with a room full of bearded hipster fey indie types, to end your set on what basically was a hard deep house (the original sort, not the wussy stuff that gets called that nowadays) rave-tastic house track with crazy visuals, well respect to you! I loved it…maybe it was the recent death of Frankie Knuckles, but I was really up for a dance….something that was oddly lacking in the Wild Beasts set, given their uptempo newie.

So here’s his remix of Wild Beasts that he’s just posted, which makes that Present Tense sound much more interesting.

The Stalker Song

I saw this on UkeHunt and thought we’ve not had enough Ukeleles recently…and also I seem to be on a strange cute vs dark tip so this fits in well with both. Bella Hemming is the cutest stalker ever, and a great video from Australia.


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