Clams Casino – Instrumentals 2 (self-released mixtape)
By Scott Creney
Here’s the thing — I’m not a music critic. I’m not even a music writer (and I am definitely, definitely not a music journalist).
I’m someone who writes about music.
So when I decide to review something, or write a column, or whatever, it’s because I think I can write about it. I could care less about ‘spreading the gospel’ or ‘turning people on’ to stuff. The fact is, I care about you as much as you care about me. That is to say, not a whole hell of a lot. I’ve never written an altruistic sentence in my life, and I’m not going to start now.
I don’t care if you listen to Clams Casino after reading this or not. But I do care that you go and read the review Charlie Fox wrote about it over on The Quietus. It might be better than Instrumentals 2. And Instrumentals 2 is very, very good. I mean, God-DAMN what a great (21st Century version of an) album. I’ve already had my mind boggled by Clams Casino once. And this mixtape just takes it even further.
But I don’t think I have anything to say about Clams Casino that I haven’t already said (plus I’m still a little hurt that nobody mailed me any mushrooms after reading that last review — AS I SPECIFICALLY ASKED YOU TO DO).
And more importantly, I can’t top Charlie Fox’s review. Now, I’m not saying Charlie Fox is a better music writer than I am, but in the case of this album, I kneel down and salute him. Of course, if you mention David Foster Wallace, cLOUDDEAD, Loveless, David Lynch, John Ashberry and DJ Screw, I am pretty much aesthetically programmed to go and listen immediately to whatever you’re talking about.
You add in image-packed paragraphs like this:
This is the huge sound William Blake described in his visionary work The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the rumble that comes as “hungry clouds swag on the deep”. And if ‘swag’ has become a magic word and a kind of virus, then watch the clouds, too, which are about to take all kinds of shapes. ‘Cloud rap’ is what you’re apparently meant to call this stuff, because it’s hip-hop turned woozy, permanently strung out and sky-high. This is the glorious sound of music fucked up on heavy narcotics, barely able to keep its eyes open, drifting off in the middle of a… oh, shit, what’s happened? Imagine the noise of the “ten million pounds of sludge” the Pixies sang about melting and exploding: that’s what Clams Casino sounds like.
And you’ve got me. Why the hell should I sit here for an hour or two racking my brain as I struggle to evoke the beauty, the tragedy and loss of Clams Casino’s music, its programmed swoons and electronic sighs, its music of weeping computers and children trapped in ice, when someone else has already done it? And done it as well as you can possibly do an album review. It has everything — packed full of poetry, yearning, intelligence, and clarity of thought.
Clams Casino should consider himself lucky to have found an interpreter as skilled and understanding as Charlie Fox. He should hire him to write his next press release, and the liner notes to any future reissues. So should you, for that matter.
I’m posting this video, but you have to promise me you’ll still go and read the review. If I see people are clicking the video and not clicking the link to Charlie Fox, I’m going to remove the video. There are some things in life more important than music. To me, words are one of them.