Clams Casino - Instrumentals

19 January, 2012

By Nixxie


OK so first the background: Clams Casino is a hip-hop producer from New Jersey, whose real name is Mike Volpe. He has been described as "one of the more creative left-field hip-hop figures" to emerge over the last 5 years. The first Clams Casino collaboration of note was with Lil B, with whom chillwave beats accompanied the MC into some very emotive and often trippy rap-beat sequences. Volpe gained more acclaim for further collaborations with Main Attrakionz, Mobb Deep's Havoc, and, most notable of all, for the new A$AP Rocky LP, where he produced no less than 5 of the album's tracks.


"Instrumentals" is Clams' first album-length effort and comes after his debut "Rainforests", a 5-track EP released in early 2011. Describing his music isn't easy. Clams' facebook page states: "generally, a Clams Casino track feels like the soundtrack for a New Age seminar that's drifted wildly off course and run aground". Having not attended many New Age seminars myself, I'm not sure I can vouch for that, but I will say this for the majority of Clams' tracks that I've heard so far: there is something infinitely transposing about this music. If you let it, if you sit back, relax and allow it to filter through into your subconscious, it's gets you going places. Like someone said, "it's probably the most appropriate music I've ever heard for just zoning the f*** out for four or five hours…"


Let's get into some specifics: my absolute favourites on this album have to be the second track, "All I Need", the fourth "Realist Alive" and the eighth "I'm Official". All I Need exquisitely balances the vocal harmonic with the beat, coming at you in what feels like gentle wave after wave of sound. Realist Alive is upbeat and yes, I guess it does make me feel happy to be alive in a way. It also makes me wish I could rap over it and I'm sure a lot of (far more talented than I am) others will have a lot of fun doing so, if they haven't already. I'm Official is one of those ongoing beats that, again, takes you places. I can just as easily picture myself listening to this on a warm summer's afternoon by the sea as I can in a rush hour packed tube train in London. Either way, it does the trick: it transports you.


For me, parts of this album are reminiscent of early DJ Shadow. It could have featured on the soundtrack for 187, easily. It is in fact highly possible that we will be hearing one if not many Clams Casino productions on future Soundtracks, such is their cinematic appeal.


If there are downsides to this LP, it would be some of the final tracks, namely "She's Hot", which just feels a little bland, and "13", which gets a little tiring for me. Both are very forgivable though, especially considering they only account for a total of just under 4 minutes out (less than 10% of the album).


The production values on the drums, the synths, the way they're put together with a carefully selected assortment of vocal samples, makes this an extremely enjoyable experience. If he keeps this up, expect more big things to come from Mr Volpe.





Primary Genre: Hip Hop

Subgenre: Instrumental

Release Date: 7 March 2011

Label: Clams Casino

Influences: DJ Shadow

Like This And You'll Probably Also Like: Lil B, ASAP Rocky

Album Highlights:  All I Need, Realist Alive, I'm Official









"I thoroughly enjoyed this, some really great (and often trippy) stuff here, 8.5/10"


 Clams Casino


Contributor mini-profile



24 Fluffy Reviews
"Made Glorious Summer By This Son Of York"
Mini bio
Raised in England, educated by France, originally from Greece. 
Check the About Nixxie section for more.
Favourite Bands / Artists
The Clash
Smashing Pumpkins
The Prodigy
Type O Negative