From clipping.’s Bandcamp page: “In the horror genre, sequels are perfunctory. As the insufferable film bro Randy explains in Scream 2, “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate—more blood, more gore. Carnage candy. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.” Last Halloween, Los Angeles experimental rap mainstays Clipping ended their three-year silence with the horrorcore-inspired album There Existed an Addiction to Blood. This October, rapper Daveed Diggs, and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson return with an even higher body count, more elaborate kills, and monsters that just won’t stay dead.
Visions of Bodies Being Burned is less a sequel than it is the second half of a planned diptych. It turns out, Clipping took to the thematic material of horrorcore like vampires to grave soil. In the years following Splendor & Misery—the band’s acclaimed dystopian science fiction-rap epic—they simply made too many songs for one album. Before the release of There Existed an Addiction to Blood, Clipping and Sub Pop Records divided the material up into two albums, designed to be released only months apart. However, a global pandemic and multiple canceled tours pushed the release of the project’s “part two” until the following Halloween season.
Visions of Bodies Being Burned contains sixteen more scary stories disguised as rap songs, incorporating as much influence from Ernest Dickerson, Clive Barker, and Shirley Jackson as it does from Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Brotha Lynch Hung. Clipping are never critical of their cultural references. Their angular, shattered interpretations of existing musical styles are always deferential, driven by fandom for the object of study rather than disdain for it. Clipping reimagine horrorcore—the purposely absurdist Hip Hop subgenre that flourished in the 1990s—the way Jordan Peele does horror cinema: by twisting beloved tropes to make explicit their own radical politics of monstrosity, fear, and the uncanny.”
Unlike most horror-movie sequels, the second part of this clipping diptych is even better than (the already formidable) first part. More immersive, more intense, more bloodcurdling. The intro Visions of Bodies Being Burned opens with heavy drums and eerie background noises – perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the album: it’s clear from the jump this is going to be some heavy sh*t. Even more than Hamilton -star Daveed Diggs’ abstract lyrical imagery, it’s the haunting soundscapes created by Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson that turn Visions of Bodies Being Burned into the unsettling experience it is.
Like There Existed an Addiction to Blood, Visions of Bodies Being Burned is far from a casual listen, with its genre-bending and its boundary-pushing blend of ambient, industrial, techno, noise, and Hip Hop – the horror-theme adding to the uncanny and hallucinatory vibe that is consistently maintained from start to finish. It’s an album to immerse yourself in – the dark and ominous atmosphere is intense to the point it’s truly chilling. Listen to this album on good headphones, in the dark, and you’ll be in for a disturbing and resonating meditative experience – Visions of Bodies Being Burned will make you feel anxious and uncomfortable but excited and delighted at the same time.
It’s clipping., b****. Visions of Bodies Being Burned is the best clipping project yet. 82/100
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