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Clams Casino is an individual named Mike Volpe based out of New Jersey, USA.  Instrumentals is one of two releases (Rainforest EP being the other) that he has out so far. Initially self-released as a mixtape, this album has been re-released on Type Records, home to other well known works from artists like Xela, Grouper, Helios, Deaf Center, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Yellow Swans, and beyond.

This record in particular is spreading rapidly across the Internet. Instrumentals employs a wonderfully downtempo frame work which enables quite a bit of leeway for everything else in the album.  Care free instrumental hip-hop beats invade a foggy and spacious musical atmosphere, occasionally being propelled by minor use of manipulated vocal samples throughout the record.

Since first being spotted with its release in August, Instrumentals has received quite a bit of attention. It has been compared to DJ Shadow’s iconic Endtroducing…, released in ’96 (hard to believe that it’s been that long).

While they are both incredible albums, there are some notable differences – mainly in the sense that Instrumentals doesn’t use turntabilism, amongst other things. Having said that, if you continue to enjoy the memorable ’96 record, you’ll definitely enjoy Clams Casino’s latest output here.

Highlights of the album include All I Need, Realist Alive, Illest Alive, and Cold War, the last being a great example of an eloquently used female vocal sample to further the track set to a great beat.

I’m sure with Instrumentals, Mr. Volpe will continue to make waves in the hip-hop community with more quality releases in the future. Enjoy this one!

For more information about the artist, check out the following resources:

Last.fm

Discogs

Type Records
Buy this release at:

Boomkat

Download.

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For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights is a reissue of Type Records-signed Xela’s debut album, originally released on the now-defunct Neo Ouija label. This release comes with two bonus tracks (track 12 “A Glance” and track 13, “Danse Macabre”).

The first two or three tracks is the most upbeat this album gets. “Under the Glow of Streetlights”, seen in the video below, is the second track out of the album containing some great glitch effects set to a nice beat. However, as you progress throughout the record, it starts to get a bit more cold.

Track 04’s In Between Two Rooms exemplifies this: glitchy effects, but more calculated and distant. Cackles fizz in and out of existence while other IDM-esque effects pepper the background. Towards the end of the track, you can almost hear samples of rain drops being applied here but warped in such a way where it barely makes an impression. Subtle, but very worthwhile.

“Impulsive Behaviour” could be seen as a sort of a sequel to the previous “In Between Two Rooms”. While the beat work plays more of a role, the textures are characterized by yet more fizzles and then elaborated upon by winded software-based instrumentation, creating somewhat of a deep distance between the two. There are of course some ambient-esque sounds, however IDM is one of predominant structural foundations of which most of this record is based upon.

The middle of the album sees An Abandoned Robot, a bit of a departure from the previous mainly downtempo tracks in that it employs primarily bass as a driving force to move to song onward (as opposed to strictly glitch and other IDM effects seen in the first few tracks). A relatively high-pitched sound gradually emerges and fades as the bass continues to provide the backdrop to the track. Soon, it is content to let the high pitch (I use that term lightly) sound slide out of existence, ultimately driving the song to its conclusion.

“The Long Walk Home at Midnight” sees the return of glitch as the primary motivation to move itself onward and upward. This represents a change in the album in the sense that all of the beat work, effects, and structure all come together to do something a bit different. This song is very streamlined. Bass plays more of a role (uncharacteristically) compared to all songs before it. New effects emerge, but the distant, vocalless, downtempo-esque, and yet the certain melancholic feeling still remains rather comfortably.

Ultimately, this album has incredibly high replayability value. The two bonus tracks are very fitting to the rest of the record, making for a very well rounded and seasoned soundscape. Track 12’s “Danse Macabre” almost becomes a bit melodic toward its ending – inserting a large bit of fresh air to everything. The bottom line is that the album’s title is very appropriate for the kind of sounds that you’ll find (and enjoy) in here. Highly recommended.

For more information, check out:

Last.fm

Discogs

– Artist page @ Type Records

Buy this digitally at:

Boomkat

Emusic

Download.

(P.S, sorry about no post yesterday).

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Nuage is an album by French composer Sylvain Chauveau, which represents scores for two films from Sébastien Betbeder. It was released shortly after the album “S” in late 2007 on Type Records. Type is known for releasing works by such artists like Deaf Center, Xela, Grouper, Helios, and City Center. All excellent.

This record is a classic, with every track but one having some involvement with either a violin, electric guitar, viola, or a piano. The piano is the predominant instrument throughout the album, often in combination with a violin weaving monumentally haunting sounds together with an anxious sense of melancholy. The end result is as moving as it is memorable.

Others have noted that the only song not to incorporate a classical instrument is “Fly Like a Horse”, and as a result, it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the record. However, this alone is nowhere near enough to leave a bad taste in one’s mouth.

By themselves, songs like Marianne, L’Oreée du Bois, Le Tunnel, Clara et Simon, and An Old Friend alone would make a great piece of work. But coupled with the rest of the album’s beautiful and somewhat romantic tracks, we instead have an outstanding collection of modern classical vocal-less narratives that carry onward quite consistently until their nearly too-short of an ending.

Headphone music.

For more information, check out:

Last.fm

Discogs

– Type Records release page.

Buy this at:

Amazon

Boomkat

Download.

Deaf Center are two friends who create ambient music based in Norway; Erik Skodvin, and Otto Totland. They’ve released one EP in 2004 and one full length album on Type Records a year later.

The duo flirts with dark ambient elements while maintaining an air of calm elegance to their music. This record features use of the piano and field recordings to add to its hazy atmospherics. Some tracks are more decidedly more haunting than others …

… While other tracks present a mindscape of its own in a similar vein. Riveting and ultimately rewarding.

For more information:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

Download.

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