Italian producer and DJ Cristiano Crisci – or Clap! Clap! as he‘s more commonly known, has a very distinct and genre-bending sound. This was evident with his well-received debut LP ‘Tayi Bebba’ – released in 2013 on Bristol based label Black Acre, a label whom also boast the likes of talented young songstress Connie Constance, fellow DJ Romare and also tastemaker Julie Adenuga on their books. Whilst ‘Tayi Bebba’ soundtracked a tour of an imaginary island, Clap! Clap!’s latest concept album release ‘A Thousand Skies’ narrates a young girl’s journey through the stars.
Through a fusion of traditional world music samples together with crisp live instrumentation and electronic music, this particular experimental expedition with Clap! Clap! is mellow but energetic and clearly draws on a variety influences such as Hip-Hop, Dance and House.
[contentblock id=141 img=adsense.png]
After the walking bass percussion and flutes of ‘Discessus’ introduce us to the album in a short opening track, we are treated to the African sounds and bouncing cadenced synths of ‘Nguwe’ featuring South African folk singer Bongeziwe Mabandla . These two tracks seem to set the scene for the album and its journey. Comparisons to ‘Tayi Bebba’ could easily be made from these two opening tracks, perhaps hinting that the journey begins on a similar – if not the very same, island from the debut album.
It is not until the fourth track, ‘Hope’ that the theme of a journey through the stars really comes to the forefront for listeners. There is however a conceptual lifting off into the space on ‘Oriens. Oriri’ where the African style chanting has been carefully layered with excellent production into a call and response style, until the more modern electronic synthesizers creep in, closing the track and leading into ‘Hope’.
‘Hope’– currently the only track from the LP supported with a music video, for the most part largely abandons the African influences of previous tracks and is a collaboration with electro-pop duo OY. It blends a pounding bass drum with live string instrumentation samples and it’s in this combination of sounds merging with the gracefully used synths that a distant and atmospheric ambience is created.
While ‘A Thousand Skies’ is a fascinating piece of production and a highly intriguing body of work, somewhere along the way of the fifteen track LP the allure is lost from the strong opening tracks as it becomes more open to interpretation. The remainder of the album is captivating and even hypnotic in places, but the strong narrative strength of the space theme does seem to dwindle from the mid-point of the album. On the other hand, as this is a concept album the narrative is entirely subjective to each individual listener and overall makes for a thought-provoking listening experience.
‘A Thousand Skies’ is out now via Black Acre Records.