George Clanton’s long awaited follow-up to Slide is finally landing on turntables everywhere. Rob Dyson soaks up the warm nostalgia, as Vaporwave’s King (of Baggy) serves up a stoner Shoegaze treat…
Sonically, Clanton’s new, oddly titled, album pays unashamed homage to late 80s shoegaze and early 90s rave beats. In this vein, Clanton stays monogamous to his love interest of 90s revivalism that in many ways he has pioneered in the broad church of vaporwave; particularly through 2018’s ‘Slide’. ‘Ooh Rap I Ya’ is of course the anticipated full length follow up fans have been lovelorn for, for 5 years.
Clanton’s vocals reverberate deep in the mix here as ever, sinking and rising, and occasionally punctuating the heady sea of this long player.
Tracks like ‘I Been Young’ shuffle to a muffled piano-inflected refrain; reminiscent of Soul II Soul and ilk. Meanwhile ‘You Hold The Key And I Found It’ borrows new-age tropes before introducing jangly psychedelic guitar and vocal sampling – bringing to mind Primal Scream-era Andrew Weatherall and early 90s Verve.
Despite its name ‘Vapor King / SubReal’ feels like a sensual union between Spacemen 3 and identikit early jungle. Whilst the first single, ‘F.U.M.L’ stops at going full-frontal Prodigy by way of Candy Flip – mainly through Clanton and Neggy Gemmy’s dreamy vocals – and of course the former acts never went as far as conceding they were ‘fucking up their life’.
The eponymous track hits some beautifully optimistic piano chords, and a break that is physically impossible not to nod your head to. There’s a touch of Brothertiger in (the track) ‘Ooh Rap I Ya’ and it sounds built – layer upon layer – on a late night improvised jam.
By the time we get to ‘For You I Will’, the tune with most obvious vaporwave vibes with big slowed and reverbed drums and vocals to match – bar guest Hatchie’s rising, chanting voice – you are out of weed, dear listener. But there’s nothing stopping you from taking that needle and going back to the start for another 38 minute trip of blissed-out Clanton. Haters gonna hate, but for me this was a wonderfully nostalgic window to a time before URL, when we were all about IRL.
Written by Rob Dyson