Caleb M. S. —Staff Writer
The Oakland-based trio clipping. returned burning bright as ever. Last year, the noise-rap group last hit the scene with There Existed an Addiction to Blood– a horror inspired auditory frenzy that ended artfully with an eighteen minute track of a piano burning. Visions of Bodies Being Burned throws itself even further down the horrorcore rabbit hole, building off characters introduced last year and even albums from much earlier in the clipping. discography. Producers William Houston and Jonathan Snipes outdo themselves on Visions and rapper Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame sends this record home.
The first track, following clipping. tradition, is simply called “Intro.” For an episodic album, “Intro” functions as the mid-episode scene used to cold-open the show. A hard, driving pulse opens and closes the track, imitating the heart of one of the victims from Daveed’s murder ballads. To end, the track uses a customary call from Daveed “Its clipping. bi—,” before he is cut off by what can only be described as coins in a blender in a house fire recorded on a Nokia microphone. This is only the first of many invasive noise moments– the jump scare of any horror film.
Visions of Bodies Being Burned gets its name from a line on “Say the Name,” a line sampled and distorted throughout the second track on the album. “Say the Name” is driving, aggressive, ominous, and devastatingly catchy. The pulsating “candle sticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned,” behind the hooks and chorus give the listener a sense of unease, but the song is just as catchy as it is sinister.
The avenue this album shines the most in is its fluidity. There are no wasted words, sounds, or effects. Daveed delivers bars exceptionally fast. Those who know the rapper as Lafayette/Jefferson from Hamilton would be terrified to hear him utilizing his wicked cadence to spit “Bust one shot if your blood’s still pumping/ bust two shots if you’re really bout something/ three little pigs and they can’t do nothing for the last time/ you can’t run you’re just a body for the pile, body for the pile.”
More impressive than Daveed’s lyricism, or William and Snipes’ production is their acquisition of samples. To achieve a genuinely breathtaking symphony of sounds, the trio sampled everything from them screaming underwater, cars being crushed, livestock carcasses being hacked with an ax, and most impressively EVP recordings that are said to be the frequency of dead spirits attempting to communicate with the mortal world. The result is a luscious, chill-inducing cacophony of aural annihilation. There are truly no dull moments in this album.
The album utilizes episodic formatting extremely well. Sometimes the trio opt for a more novella feel (“She Bad”), but other times the story arc continues over a few songs (“Wytchboard (Interlude)” and “’96 Neve Campbell”).
Visions of Bodies Being Burned wins Halloween hands down, but the record will definitely be a regular in my rotation across the year. No song breakdown this week, I strongly advise you to turn off the lights in your room, draw the blinds, and let yourself fall into this album for forty minutes sometime this week.