Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Clams Casino

  • Instrumental Mixtape [free download, 2011] A-
  • Clams Casino [Tri Angle, 2011] ***
  • 32 Levels [Columbia, 2016] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Instrumental Mixtape [free download, 2011]
Reconstructed from tracks created for such real-life rappers as Lil B and Soulja Boy, New Jersey beatmaker Mike Volpe's comfortably disquieting illbient glitchbeat chillwave whatsis will grow on you if you give it a chance. And because it's designed to back into your space, providing the chance won't feel all that time-consuming, preoccupied as you'll be with something more engrossing while said time passes. The opening "Motivation" powers home enough hummed 'n' moaned gravitas to remind you it's there, and the closing "Cold War" caps the 40-minute album with a vocal sample that utters the title for once. In between you'll first pick up on "What You Doin'" and "Illest Alive," better known to you as the one in the middle and the one toward the end. Then slowly the rest will ooze into place via capillary action. A-

Clams Casino [Tri Angle, 2011]
Too atmospheric? naturalistic? programmatic? somewhere in there ("Gorilla," "Waterfalls") ***

32 Levels [Columbia, 2016]
Major label backs beatmaker-soundscaper's demo reel! ("Be Somebody" featuring A$AP Rocky and Lil B," "All Nite" featuring Vince Staples) **