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Clams Casino - Moon Trip Radio (Album Review)

Thursday, 21 November 2019 Written by Milly McMahon

A calming presence settles in alongside the listener with the first play of Clams Casino’s second full-length album ‘Moon Trip Radio’. Notoriously low key, the producer (real name Michael Volpe) has always preferred to exist just out of shot as his instrumentals help to foreground some of east coast rap’s brightest lights.

Working most organically in his own environment at home in New Jersey, his processes are deeply experimental. Some tracks arrive by chance, others from a vague idea cribbed from memory.

This album, created during Volpe’s first experience of fatherhood, is music he describes as his most intimate to date, inspired by the change in every sense of his life and work. 

Taking to the studio, using headphones to capture every unique detail of his sound, the transcendental atmospheres on this 11 track album feel epic despite its modest beginnings.

Cupidwing moves with graceful innocence. Charming and soothing, the vulnerability and softness amplified by Clams’ strongest moments are switched up quickly to then reveal signature echoing dread-fuelled beats. 

The ensuing Glowing Bones reflects Clams’ earlier mood. Even when inspired by the darker edge of his cloud rap roots, the most intense and sinister themes of his work are fading on ‘Moon Trip Radio’, revealing a more optimistic age for his creative output.

Paternal maturity has dawned on him, and his ambient compositions flow without obvious direction, free to explore and take shape, undefined by any expectations, trends or superficial influences. Clams Casino is a huge hip hop name who does not care for status or recognition. This is music to just be still with.

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