This year marks the 10th anniversary of Wolf Eyes signing to Sub Pop. It was a strange move to many, that such a high-profile label would team up with a group so dissonant and grotesque, but from the moment “Stabbed In The Face” (their first single for the label) appeared, it was clear that this was exactly the right place for the band. Wolf Eyes have done noise, but that song, and really Burned Mind as a whole, is not that. It’s a rock song, and a really fucking good one, written and performed in the musical dialect that the band speaks. That spirit runs strong in 2014 as Sub Pop announce the first official album by clipping., a trio that haa grown into one of the most unique groups to grind harsh noise up against popular hip hop.
clipping. consists of composer Jonathan Snipes, William Hutson (better known in the noise scene as Rale), and rapper Daveed Diggs. You may remember them as one of our 40 Best New Bands of 2013, an honor they earned for their explosive self-released mixtape mid city (free to download here). Part of what made that mixtape so fascinating had to do with the fact that it wasn’t the deconstruction, or “attack on” hip hop that people might have expected. Rather, at most opportunities, they embraced many of the traditions of mainstream hip-hop, even while pronouncing them in new ways.
The best example of that comes in the form of “Work Work,” the first single off CLPPNG. The unbalanced, chiming drift brings to mind Autechre’s Confeld or the lighter moments of Zs’ New Slaves rather than any sort of hip-hop producers — and yet it reconfigures itself as a creepy laid-back groove for Diggs’ crisp, articulate rhymes to play over. Despite the heavy use of noise throughout many of their songs, here the group’s sense of space is fully utilized, often using an abrupt break into silence as effectively as a big drop, while Diggs is confident enough to go a cappella for stretches. The guest spot here deserves mentioning as Cocc Pistol Cree was one of the most exciting up-and-comers to show up on DJ Mustard’s excellent Ketchup mixtape with the highlight “Lady Killa,” and though she’s only on here for a short time, she leaves a hell of an impression. It says a lot that a group known for such noise would drop a track built of such eerie calm, and “Work Work” shows there’s still a lot of unexpected things to come from clipping. Listen below.
CLPPNG is out 6/10 via Sub Pop.