Clams.Wav - DROWN

Who knew that Poseidon resided in Arkansas? Well, we at The Snake’s Nest do, and with this new EP release from Clams.Wav, you will soon know. Coming with his most recent project, DROWN, Clams.Wav delivers a hard-hitting, aquatic and demonic release that makes you feel you’ve been transported to Davy Jones’ Locker with a whole lot of bass and dark tones.

DROWN starts off with a track titled Sink Or Swim, featuring production credits from Slim Lxtus and Prxphet. It starts off melodic, and makes you feel as if you are undergoing being submerged in the ocean. Clams.Wav delivers a melancholic flow, that is eerie in delivery as well as lyricism. With bars saying things such as “Underwater, had to get away,” and “I flipped the boat, now you feeling the wave”, really transport one to being at sea and being swept under the almighty force that is the ocean.

Going into Numb//Carvings, produced by Dezi, the album slows down a bit, but Clams.Wav delivers his trademark flow, but picks up the pace on his part. This track really highlights using a slower instrumental with a faster flow, and does it exceptionally well. There’s even melodic singing to accompany the faster flow, which gives the track a unique style that sticks out within the tape.

Walk the Plank, featuring Prxphet, is simply put, a banger. The distorted bass, with the destructive flows of both Clams.Wav and Prxphet makes this track really stand out, especially with how they switch back and forth between their deliveries and makes it seem like you’re truly at the bottom of the ocean, face to face with Poseidon. This track just really damn rules, and it’s one that you need to check out regardless. I really love the speedboat references in this track.

On Sight, produced by Still, is the lead single for the DROWN project, with Clams.Wav telling you to pull up on sight. You really think you gonna pull up on Poseidon like that underwater? This track works so well within the project, I love it. Clams.Wav absolutely kills it on this track, making you fearful of him, while also conveying that he don’t give a hoot who you are. This track makes me feel fearless, and able to conquer anything and everything.

Wealth is the fifth track on DROWN, and features Reno artists, Theonly1197 (who also produced the track and Lil Traffic. To put it lightly, they all kill it. Clams.Wav even has a slowed down, chopped and screwed-ish vocal part on the song that adds to the melancholy, eerieness of the album. Transitioning into Theonly1197’s part, it’s slower that what you may expect from him, but it works as within the context of the album, it just comes off genuine and cataclysmic. Lil Traffic has his trademark delivery on the track, that gives a brighter, fresh flow on the album that may not have been featured on the album due to the dark, cataclysmic vibe that comes off this album. And those are both good, actually great things.

DROWN finishes up with Wavy, produced by Still and features Mana. I absolutely love the seagull sample on this track. Makes the listener feel as if they’ve been washed ashore, as well with the beat making it seem hopeful that one was able to escape the fate they reached at the start of the project by being swept underneath the waves. Mana kills it on the track as well to follow up the first verse from Clams.Wav, and to anyone who thinks Mana sounds like Ghostemane or the $uicideboy$, take a listen to this track. You shouldn’t still think that. Mana sounds like Mana. And it’s a great touch to finish off DROWN.

In short, DROWN is a very cohesive project that truly shines light on Clams.Wav’s style and personality, all while delivering music that seems as if you’re at the bottom of the ocean. With strong features from his fellow Plush Life members Lil Traffic and Theonly1197, as well as from Mana and Mavo, this is a project you surely don’t want to miss. If you’re interested in knowing more about Clams.Wav, you can catch his interview with The Snake’s Nest happening live this month here on WolfPackRadio.org.

You can check out ‘DROWN’ by Clams.Wav here:

Rival Consoles - Persona

A volley of treated drum snippets and analog keyboard bleeps roll out the inception of Leicester-based producer Ryan Lee West’s, better known under the moniker Rival Consoles, fourth album Persona. With the Rival Consoles alias serving up some of electronic music’s most disciplined albeit footloose mixes for a decade now, West’s operandi remains vigilant to its overcast four-on-the-floor foundations and foggy synthesizer varnish. Speaking to PopMatters days before the release of Persona, West issued his clarification: “I basically allow an amount of naivety of the playing aspect of electronic music. I think it’s all to do with being surprised and listening rather than owning a talent to such an extent that you can’t be surprised.” To some degree, West is bestowing color onto a doleful world, flushing an otherwise bleak palette with hints of vivacity.
For final products as densely workable, even moving, as Rival Consoles’ subterranean dancefloor edits would beg you to explore and disassociate with, naïvety exceeds the stern beauty of Persona’s visceral anatomy. Electronic music, with its totality of opportunities in sonic conceptions and experimentation, has assumed a headroom of scholarly instinct and the value of order in recent years. In hindsight, poignant modern classics like Tim Hecker’s haunting Virgins and Floating Points’ Eleania removed the glossy sheen of FM electronica and replaced tonality with blurry, almost otherworldly textures and stringent beatwork. West is no stranger to making even the most divergent of ends meet, with 2015’s Howl positing itself in the midst of this burgeoning trend, but his formula’s lingering effect finally resonates as a universal energy, one that anyone can dissect and embrace.
From the ghostlike sine wave melodies of “Dreamer’s Wake” to the bleary immediacy of “Phantom Grip,” it’s evident West is shunning the pursuit for hitmaking. At their base, most compositions attempt to nail down a specific atmosphere, but West’s dominating method of manipulating his beat’s voices and rhythms prove a compelling challenge—it shapes a resistance that inevitably renders a track’s direction defenseless against the gambit of tricks and treatments in his arsenal. Under these inconstant parameters, West ensures chaos is distant from the integrity of his mixes. The progression of “Sun’s Abandon” plunges from an isolated, hearty synth loop into a primal drum machine exercise in not even two minutes’ time, until the residue of both fundamentals intertwines and compliment one another. Likewise, the jumbled synths of “I Think So” anchor the forthcoming haze of glazed keyboards and climactic percussive rhythms. These productions never meander far from their original point, but tracing these masterpieces from start to finish remains a sort of fascinating drill for the listener to partake.
Persona isn’t an album of ostentatious performances and self-serving procedures on display—even if the kick drum takes pride in its punchiness or the stray keyboard soloist crosses the threshold into standalone glory. These are the inverse traits of the persona West conveys throughout the album; on opposite sides are the withdrawn and amorphous edge of one’s introverted character versus the anthemic outbursts of extroversion. “Rest” adheres to this concept entirely. The prominent synthesizer melody barely rises above a murmur, only to be overtaken by a salvo of claps and keyboard gleams. On the contrary, consistently suppressed numbers like “Be Kind” and the promising “Untravel” showcase West’s visualization for one particular edge of the persona. These shakeups in the formula don’t equate to anything medial or paint West as a producer who’s just scraping by. There is an unmistakable feeling West champions throughout, and his vocalizations are best transmitted through these meandering products.

In his PopMatters feature, West admits of fearing misinterpretation with Persona’s dual nature: “My worry about the title was that it was too pretentious but actually I think that’s because a lot of the time that’s because words like this get ruined.” Luckily, with the seamless methods at play within these twelve tracks, as well as West’s notional dedication, Persona not only augments the sprawling discography of his Rival Consoles project, but tacks on the ability for the moniker to enfold a concept and sustain its purpose for a full-length setting. Persona is a success not measured by the seismic shock of its sound or its potential for mainstream appreciation, but its beatific and beautifying compound. Only in his next endeavor will West potentially deliver another gratifying work like his latest effort—otherwise, Persona will sit in well for this newly-sprung generation of electronic fans.
You can check our Rival Consoles’ new album, ‘Persona’ on Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube. And be sure to check our Rival Consoles on Bandcamp and Rival Consoles’ website.

Nonpareils - Scented Pictures

 
Liars was the indie love story that wasn’t—that is if you’re looking at it as one of the more splendidly hideous collaborations between oddball songwriters to emerge from indie’s voracious ethos. In their fifteen years of existence, they’ve relished but never banked on their notoriety as workaholics whose output defined how insignificant the parameters of indie rock can impose on the restless and the unruly. Before the release of last year’s TFCF, in which de-facto frontman Angus Andrew remained the only member of the project following the amiable departures of drummer Julian Gross and all-around whizbang Aaron Hemphill, the group was unyielding in their penchant for sonic mischief and their utterly bizarro aesthetic.
Mere months after TFCF tested Andrew’s newfound role as charge d’affaires of his once-bombastic project, Hemphill steered into a different and even more eccentric course of action. Relocating from Liars’ semi-permanent home base of Los Angeles to Berlin, Hemphill refused to suspend his songwriting habits for even a second and set to work on a statement of his own. Take a gander at the press release for his proper debut under the moniker Nonpareils, and you’ll immediately suspect that Hemphill’s stratagems are exceedingly strange and potentially infuriating even for Liars’ loose coterie of standards. These tactics include laying down drum rhythms without click tracks, distracted recording sessions, and committing atrocities of equipment malpractice in the pursuit of off-kilter directives. Shunning the maligned contortions of Liars’ Mess, now symbolically their last full-length as a trio, Hemphill’s Scented Pictures is the hypnagogic outsider of the Liars canon.
Arguably, the most proximate reference points for Scented Pictures stray far from Liars, instead citing the cluttered tapes of early Ariel Pink and the lopsided pop of 60s cultists the Shaggs as distant muses. Each hand-crafted melody hones in on Hemphill’s variable performances, which unavoidably reflects his sorely missed jack-of-all-trades tasks in Liars, from his rattling drum beats to his sunny guitar plucks. Progression between tracks is waived to consolidate each melody into a singular entity packed with layers upon layers of mindless, glitchy textures and alien moods. Not only are these hunks of otherworldly sound distinguishable by their plan of attack, but their dynamics are often warped beyond perception. Lead single “The Timeless Now” flails with its pitch-shifted-vocals-as-harmonizer and molasses drum stomp, mostly culminating in an electronic funhouse of horror and obfuscation. Think of WIXIW’s skittery electronica but obtuse, or Liars’ self-titled freakouts but transposed to audio workstation trickery.
Equally accessible, or at the very least enthralling, is the primal dirge of “Cherry Cola” and the cluttered overtures of “The Fever That Goes Up and Down,” both of which leaching as much immediacy as possible with Hemphill’s often-tuneless vocals and explosive arrangements. The organic-minded numbers of Scented Pictures might appear the odd ones out in the midst of jumbled digital instruments and padding—most notably, the wiry guitar and bass duality of “Make Me Miss the Misery Girls” that devise the album’s harmonic centerpiece, but deviates from Hemphill’s anti-tonal structure. These melodies aren’t contentiously drawn to the polar opposites of emotional value, instead choosing to retreat into precepts akin to cartoony and curiously avant-garde. At times, the checkered direction produces a couple of tediously ineffective tracks, such as the helter-skelter glitch waltz of “Ditchglass, They Think” that flushes analog rubbish through a sheepish synthesizer hook.
There is a conceptual foundation for Scented Pictures that appears antsier to serve as its takeaway versus Hemphill’s insight as a producer in the wake of his departure from Liars. If miscalculation and hocus-pocus doth make the quintessential experimental debut, then Nonpareils will garner some attention for the versatile crazy-to-calm dynamics (i.e., the transition from “Invisible Jets” to “Press Play” in a few minutes’ time) and full-clad effort. Much to Hemphill’s chagrin, Scented Pictures is not a wonky pop record by essence, but pleasant in the same passage that exalted Atlas Sound’s bedroom material or Panda Bear’s worldly anthems as plainly experimental music. These are abstractions that are perfectly ripe in the post-Liars eon, and Hemphill’s talents will reemerge as a potent but unpalatable force in due time.
You can check out Nonpareils’ new project, ‘Scented Pictures’ on Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube. And be sure to check out Nonpareils here.