Pitchfork Music Festival 2012, live review | Clams Casino
Clams Casino knows how to make a beat. I wasn't sure what kind of an impact his ethereal boom-bap would have on the Pitchforkian masses, but the kids, they like the Jersey boy cloud-rap producer prodigy. With the rain gone and sogginess not getting the better of anyone, a sea of flat-brimmed ball caps and hands instantly shot skyward when Clams took to the Blue stage and kicked off with "Palace," a beat typically accompanied by A$AP Rocky's gruff flow. When the rapper is left out of the equation, the break-neck head-nod drum sequencing and chopped-up New Age chanting really gets to shine. Unlike many rap beats without the rap, Clam's Casino's stuff stands just as tall on its own.
This seemed like even more of a feat when he started digging into his more nuanced work. Where fellow producer-turned-solo-act (and Pitchfork performer) araabMUZIK prefers to mine trance and progressive house for samples, Clams prefers New Age, lacing track after track with soothing oohs and aahs. The stuff could've come straight from an Enya record, but when it's interwoven with his rough-hewn drum programming, it's transformed—and transfixing.
Much like fellow electronic act Tim Hecker, Clams Casino is not much of a live showman. That didn't stop the dude-heavy crowd from lighting up with every next track, from the supremely chill ("The Fall") to his bassier work—kind of like a cloud-rap version of crunk.
To frame Clams Casino as merely an instrumental hip-hop producer is to sell him short. With this young generation of concert-goers racing out to see every dubstep show they can wrap their molly-addled minds around, catching the swell of support for an act that elicits much of that same energy without having to turn everything up to 11 is deeply refreshing.