The new advent of horrorcore
Did you know that “clip” is a contranym? Meaning it has two opposite meanings, both to fasten and to cut. Although indicative to the group’s potent production powers, clipping. has a less polysemous name for their latest, an alliterative, full-length LP release Visions of Bodies Being Burned. Helmed by vocalist Daveed Diggs (who people may’ve recognized as an actor on the broadway show Hamilton and the show Black-ish) and backed by producers, William Huston and Jonathan Snipes, the LA-based trio summons a sinister sound. They seem to be attempting to invoke something, a presence. As if the LP itself is the invocation and when it completes people will likely shiver and look over their shoulder because whatever was attempting to come through just might be there.
First track, “Intro,” sets the soundscape as scheming and premonitory, auguring the aesthetic of the LP (if the album artwork hadn’t already). There are indistinct found sounds that make up the fringes of the track all the while giving one the sense that something is arriving or coming through a tunnel. Then, all in a 30-second period, Diggs vociferously blasts out of that void rapping staccato on heavy topics of death, retribution, self-actualization into a static explosion that sustains ‘til its close. It’s not gonna be a light listen.
Into the second track “Say the Name,” this refrain eerily repeats “candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned” in a low-toned modulated voice as a duly deep-toned synthline synchs to it. Diggs spits doomsday lines with an acerbic tongue. Not one’s vacuous mumble type. This is lyrical rap, enlaced with extreme overtones of horror, death, murder, sin, paranoia, necromancy and all other matters dark. Head-bobbing along the way as his captive soul, Diggs acts as psychopomp leading people down to the chthonic realm.
Then comes the first of three interludes off the album. An interlude is reputedly considered to be a callsign of a concept album, which is more of a created world than a collection of songs and has a master narrative that links all the songs together. Visions of Bodies Being Burned is one of such albums, although in a pretty disjointed form. “Wytchboard (Interlude)” involves a couple flippant girls playing with a Ouija board, they spell out “HE IS HERE.”
Then it perfectly transitions into the next track, “96 Neve Campbell,” where there’s a brusque rapping upon a door which is pretty jolting considering that message of the mysterious male subject’s arrival from the previous track. The producers really start showing off in this one. It has all these little technical caprices that they somehow interconnect while also imbuing all the danceability of a hip-hop banger and while still also administering a perfect dosage of the weird to keep it creepy and menacing but danceable at the same time. Really deft management of a really distinct sound in that track.
By that same token, “Enlacing” has the most psychedelic beat off the LP of which is like hearing an explosion in a fragmented burst over and over as it stereophonically passes in and out of each ear. “Invocation (Interlude)” sounds like someone is flapping a thin sheet of metal or that standby noise played in TV shows when a technical difficulty arises, or an extempore obscenity requires censorship. Or in “She Bad,” it’s like someone with Parkinson’s is holding a glass bottle with fingers bedecked with rings, but it seems Diggs likens the sound within the song to “two hundred years of rust on the gate.” Or in track five, “Something Underneath,” there’s this subterranean machine humming, a sort of oceanic sound one might hear aboveground from an underground factory as random flashes of sibilant screeches resound throughout.
Equally cerebral as it is visceral, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, if not their masterpiece, is clipping.’s best work yet. Equally unhinged as it is intricate and exacting, it presents clipping. at they’re most volatile and lucid yet. From the immaculately disquieting production to the trenchant vocal delivery and lyricism, the hip-hop trio has claimed their niche in the music world. The composition is really fitting for the month and is reminiscent of a spooky-ambient-sounds soundtrack, but taken to the extreme of horror. It’s something of tectonic magnitude that will leave people paralyzed, damp with sweat and a little uneasy, and maybe a perverse desire for just a little more.