Review: Clap! Clap! – A Thousand Skies
Since it’s birth back in 2007, Bristol based imprint Black Acre has built a reputation for putting out music from many spheres of the dance music world. With varying releases from the likes of Marlow, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Romare, Lurka, Commodo and Dan Shake, the next offering comes from Clap! Clap! Having begun his music career at the humble age of 13 as a rapper, he then decided to take up the saxophone. His band, Trio Cane, performed both Jazz standards and Jazz/Punk fusion. He’s now touring a live show as Clap! Clap! and is rapidly gaining a strong following. The Italian released his debut LP through the label in 2014 and has since delivered a string of EPs leading up to this, his new album, A Thousand Skies.
The LP has been created using both live instrumentation and a plethora of world samples. Taking influence from Hip Hop, House, Footwork and UK Bass, it is supposedly based on "a young girls journey through the stars”. The track's titles continue this theme, employing various constellations within them.
Discessus is the first track, a slowly evolving blend between tribal percussion and vocals with more electronic instrumentation also being combined. It sets the scene nicely for what is to come.
Nguwe follows, which features Bongeziwe Mabandla, a rising star in the South African music scene. Big electro-esque synths take pride of place on this one, intertwined around off kilter footwork drum patterns layered with percussion hailing from all corners of the globe, all while the vocal cries out over the top. It’s a masterful blend of sonic textures that shouldn’t work, but definitely does.
Berlin based band OY collaborate on Hope, which is more chilled out, and has an introduction hugely reminiscent of SBTRKT’s first album before settling down into hypnotic plucked strings, looped over half time drums with a deep sub bass underneath.
If the album is based on the concept of a journey, then Ode To The Pleiades is a short trip within it. It begins it’s life as a dark, brooding stomper, employing middle eastern strings over the top of a thunderous kick and deep electronic atmospheres. Slap bang in the middle of the track comes an initially surprising acoustic piano line, that slowly becomes more melodic, the drums switch to a half time feel and the whole thing becomes something a great deal calmer than in it’s opening. It’s all executed with such aplomb, and appears completely natural.
Flowing Like A Snake In Ophiucus’ Arms employs crunching Hi Hats over a beautifully laid back Hip Hop beat. Big Pads are present over the top, all along with tribal percussion and vocals. It is another prime example of just how adept Clap! Clap! is at combining sounds that don’t typically belong.
Closing off the release is Ascension Psalm, featuring fellow Italian HDAAD. It is a worthy finisher, a beatless, ethereal soundscape that is a suitable reminder of the albums basis of the stars.
The album is a stellar contribution to the world of Black Acre, combining sounds from all across the globe as it ducks between genres. Clap! Clap! has truly created a unique sound that is present throughout, it is thoroughly recommended.
Pre-order the album HERE