Live review – clipping. / Here at Outernet, 22/08/2023 | Juno Daily

LA’s clipping. back in UK for their biggest show yet

Returning to London less than a year since their double bill at the Tufnell Park Dome and Fabric last November, tonight Los Angeles based industrial harsh-noise hip-hop trio clipping. mark their biggest London show to date at the recently opened Here at Outernet.

Known for the crushing, schizoid production of duo William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes, while fronted by hyper-syllabic MC Daveed Diggs (known also for his acting work in the musical Hamilton for which he won a Tony award for best actor, as well as a slew of excellent film and TV roles); the outfit have made a name for themselves for delivering live performances that feel both rigidly elaborate yet loose and jovial in their execution.

Enlisting support from Providence, Rhode Island originating yet London based noise experimentalist Container, who provides a reliably tone setting deluge of monstrous distorted waves and more mercurial electronic passages before the outlier of the bill, Rugby based post-metal behemoths Conjurer pull proceedings down a cavernous pit of slow churning down-tuned riffs and guttural bellows which ironically appear to be too intense and heavy for small pockets of the crowd who’ve earnestly attended a harsh-noise adjacent performance.

Conjurer brim with cohesive and crushing poise, elevating their pristine reputation for already being one of the most impressive modern metal acts in the UK scene, while tonight’s mixed bill is a refreshing dynamic of sonic pallets brought full circle by the arrival of the LA trio onto the stage amidst the haunting sample of the Sam Waymon track ‘The Blood Of Thing (Part 2) Shadow of the Cross’, sampled to make up the structural groundwork of fan favourite ‘Blood Of The Fang’ with the group going for the preverbal jugular by opening proceedings with one of their biggest singles.

From there a scathing and trimmed down version of the abrasive and unsettling ‘La Mala Ordina’ pulses and pounds with its mechanical percussion while ‘Pain Everyday’ (taken from their 2020 masterwork Visions Of Bodies Being Burned) takes on a captivating aura in a live setting. Perhaps it’s the lyrics dealing with the esoteric nature of hauntings and a sympathetic ear turned towards the ghosts of our past, or it could be the utterly ludicrous breakbeat section within the second verse that features such incomparable live manipulation or Diggs effortless ability to stay in time. Regardless, the cut elevates the energy to a staggering degree.

Here at Outernet boasts impressive screens and slick modern design which compliment the high-class grit clipping. conjure (no pun intended) so easily, while Diggs informs the crowd that the elaborate and ever-shifting screen patterns and visuals are a trick they’ve not been able to make work in a live setting since 2017. It adds a sense of triumphant, artistic scale to such a momentous demonstration of the level the trio have achieved in their career.

Deeper cuts from their 2014 breakout sophomore semi-self-titled CLPPNG LP incite the most rapturous reception with the groove laden industrial-bap of ‘Inside Out’ and the Throbbing Gristle meets Death Grips design of the distorted murder banger ‘Body & Blood’ garnering attentive chaos in the forms of moshing, jumping, and a curious bop-crunk many take to bouncing in, somewhat unsure as to how to physically react to such a genre-less mess of intimidating musical ideas.

Crowd pleasers such as ‘Wriggle’, ‘Shooter’ and ‘Check The Lock’ are all live essentials at this point, and their dense grooves are consciously offset by the darker, more abstract deep cuts for the truly devoted, with the grimly euphoric and captivating ‘Enlacing’ followed by the even further plunge into darkness on the one-two punch of ‘Story’ and ‘Story 2’. Their encore features two of the biggest hits from their catalogue with the John Carpenter-esque slow-building gang violence of ‘Nothing Is Safe’ counterbalanced by the most “traditional” sounding cut from the trio in the guise of ‘Work Work’ which encourages another bout of fan chanting and anthemic singalong before committing to the OG shtick full on by closing with J-Kwon cover ‘Tipsy’. 

With Diggs’ experience as a stage actor and showman (as well as being a remarkable lyricist and fluid rapper, combined with the genuinely bewildering production work of Hutson and Snipes who are consistently able to instrumentally breakdown each cut to one singular sonic element before building upon to segue into another cut (often from a totally different project), the pair make a dynamic and flawless pair of industrial DJs, while returning to London so shortly since the trio’s last jaunt, tonight can’t help but feel like a victory lap for one of the most unique and creative acts in hip-hop or alternative music today. Ripping through a 20-song hour-plus set of fan favourites, deep cuts and quirky surprises, while showcasing both a suitable opener and puzzling outlier to craft a fresh billing, clipping. continue to ride the crest of an audacious wave all of their own approach.

Zach Buggy