Clams Casino Instrumental Mixtape Vol. 2(Self-Released) Buy it from Insound
Clams Casino is amazingly consistent. He does what he does very, very well. He crafts songs that are wandering, that build slowly and intrigue both melodically and rhythmically. He produces his best songs for rappers, but they sound better on their own. His solely instrumental EP last year was decent, but not as good as the rapper-less versions of songs he produced for Lil B the previous year. His latest release is another instrumental mixtape, tracks originally produced for A$AP Rocky, Lil B, The Weeknd and more. His Lana Del Ray remix is on here too, and it’s a lot better than the version with Lana singing on it. He remixes Washed Out’s Amor Fati as well, and it’s almost unrecognizable. It sounds much darker and more plodding than the original.
This tape, like his first volume, is arranged to flow together despite the differing origins of the source material. It kicks off with Palace, which A$AP Rocky rapped over originally. It centers on a chanting vocal sample accompanied by the usual Clams beat, crashing drums, loud in both sides. He can build a beat in magnificent ways, bringing in and dropping poly-rhythms at just the right time. The details pop in and out in perfect time. The Fall, a well produced and excellent song when The Weeknd is involved, has a different feel on its own. There’s a section where the whole song cuts out and dramatically re-enters. The moment is lost on the original, but as an instrumental it comes out in full.
Human, the unreleased track, fits right in with the rest. It utilizes a chopped up vocal sample and a hazy acoustic guitar sample. It could certainly be used by a rapper, but, like the rest of the tape, I’d rather hear it like this. There are very few producers out there who can say that their creations are just as good (if not better) as instrumentals than they are with a vocalist. Kissing on My Syrup, originally rapped over by Squadda B, features a chopped up keyboard line and a vocal sample in the background that are easily overlooked otherwise. I never want to hear Lil B’s Unchain Me ever again, at least not with B on it. As an instrumental, it’s easily one of Clams' best.
The best part about this second mixtape? Clams Casino is getting better. His songs build even better than before, his samples are better placed and more refined, and the mixing has improved. He relies on keyboards less than he used to, letting the samples drive the songs. He’s rapidly improving on a great thing that didn’t need improving, and that makes me excited to keep hearing more of him. He’s getting more prolific, so here’s to a wonderful future full of Clams Casino.14 June, 2012 - 14:13 — Andrew Baer