Less than a year ago I was told about a new record label from Brooklyn, New York. I was told to keep a firm eye on their developments and to watch out for their small roster of artists and trickle of releases. Today this label is positioned at the very forefront of the electronic avant-garde and is responsible for some of the most ground-breaking artists on the circuit. Tri-Angle records have been catapulted into stardom not due to luck but due to one simple factor, originality.
Many journalists and bloggers have tried to coin the Tri-Angle sound; some label it as Witch House others as experimental R&B and Hip-Hop. Honestly it doesn’t matter kids, it’s what the music does to you internally. This is the most important factor that we here at Inverted Audio stress to our peers, we only write about the very best music. Essentially if we don’t ‘feel’ the music, as in, if don’t get goosebumps, how on earth do you expect us to write about it?
Clams Casino‘s ‘Rainforest EP’ is a record that I can say, hand on heart, gives me goosebumps or goose flesh, goose pimples, chill bumps, chicken skin, funky spots, dasler bumps whatever you want to call it, it elicits this bizarre display of awe and admiration. So what causes this effect? Well I guess it’s the rich atmospheres and dramatic textures that lie within the grooves of this record.
In an interview with the Fader Clams Casino AKA Mike Volpe said “I really wanted the tracks to stick together and have an overall theme…and when I put them together I got like a nature/rainforest/tropic sort of vibe. It’s hard to explain, but seeing landscapes, colours like light green in my head.” I can totally hear this theme throughout the record and it’s refreshing to hear it as prior to this he was working with the likes of Lil B and Soulja Boy creating romantic R&B infusions, which I don’t see the appeal of to be honest. It’s refreshing to see him experimenting with this theme and for stepping out of the shadows of that drab rap underground sub culture and for actually releasing his own knotty and abstract record.
‘Natural’ begins steeped in distortion; eastern strings strum a melody whilst a shuffling beat drops heavily amidst woozy vocals. The beat and atmospheric synths climb all over the track making it intense, dramatic and powerful. This is one track for complete mind expansion.
‘Waterfalls’ begins with an 8 second ‘War of the Worlds’ drone like introduction, distorted and terrifying. Out of nowhere Volpe drops an emotionally charged organic payload of drums, beats and drone like chants. If you needed a musical representation of drama, this is your perfect companion. It’s just a matter of time before this tune gets picked up for some melancholic film about street kids taking smack.
‘Drowning’ is one of my favorites. It begins with dark piano chords gently increasing in volume whilst atmosphere fades in and out. A reversed maligned vocal drops and a raucous hip-hop beat follows, thumping, throbbing and kicking the air with determination. ‘Gorilla’ closes the record perfectly; it’s as if a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. It’s truly epic as sublime strings lift you, the beat grounds you and the vocals add drama, depth, self-reflection and emotion to it.
There is no doubt this an essential buy and is a record that will improve with time and age. It also marks the beginning of a producer who, at the age of 23 years, has a serious future ahead of him. I just hope that he stays focused on this atmospheric aesthetic he’s coined.