UK based producer Clarence Clarity (named after the popular meme) recently dropped his debut LP, No Now, via Bella Union. The reception has been pretty much nonexistent thus far which is surprising to me because the record is a brave and impressive hour plus journey into a distinctively dense and cacophonous re-imagining of pop and R&B music.
You may be thinking to yourself oh this is another ethereal bedroom R&B producer who’s married traditionally commercial themes with dramatic, sleek, minimal, dark, undertones to satisfy those who prefer their smoothness to mirror Autre Ne Veut over something like Jodeci? Well I’m here to tell you that while Clarence clearly knows what the Autre Ne Veut and How To Dress Well’s of the universe are doing with their takes on the genre, this is not that, this is maximalist, disjointed and glitchy, this is taking that idea of mixing 70% of that traditional R&B flavor with 30% experimenting and reversing the percentages so that the experimentation is now at 70%. No Now probably shares more in common sonically with the Animal Collective and is very much here and now, it completely encapsulates the all consuming nature of the Internet and the overwhelming beauty and ugliness it can sometimes create in today's society.
The unique take isn’t the result of production alone; Clarence’s eccentric vocal delivery will catch some off-guard and like last year’s FKA Twigs record, must have been extremely difficult to even pull off in these nontraditional musical environments. But somehow it all works and it all works extremely well in my opinion, providing the listener with one of the most original records I’ve heard in recent memory that could function on both a dance-floor and at home.
I hope people get to hear the record, it dropped earlier in the month and I haven’t really heard or seen much about it, which is why I’m even sharing a post that is closer to a record review than a heads up to readership that I usually would provide at this point. Get a taste of No Now from the five track sampler below and if you like what you hear pick up a digital copy from the usual places or a special edition physical copy from Rough Trade that also includes the instrumentals.