Happiness is waiting at your door.Sub Pop, 2016
8.5 / 10
You will take clipping.’s comedies seriously. The joke of the project’s self-titled proper debut was that they made pop bliss out of harsh glitch-hop, and the comedy here is that Splendor & Misery is even more out there. This is a concept album about a galactic slave set free on a ship with whom his only companionship is the on-board computer, who falls in love with the slave. It might sound ridiculous, but clipping. are committed to this act with such strength that their catchphrase—“it’s clipping., bitch”—is absent from this album.
Splendor & Misery is far from graceful. The specifics of the plot are poorly conveyed outside of a few tracks, and while the tracklist has fifteen chapters, the number of fully constructed songs here is closer to half that figure, with the remainder consisting of interludes, reprises, intros, and outros. What’s accomplished here, though, is the most chilling set of abstract hip-hop since the first cLOUDDEAD album. I’ve given this album dozens of listens over the past month and I’ve yet to make heads or tails of most of what’s happening here. What sticks is the image of a troubled man looking out into oblivion and deciding to make something of it. I’d like pop thrills, too, but I’m an enthusiast of this kind of weird shit.