Instrumentals (Clams Casino album)

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Mixtape by Clams Casino
Released March 7, 2011 (2011-03-07)
Recorded 2010–11
Genre Electronic
Length 42:12
Label Self-released
Clams Casino chronology
Rainforest EP
Alternate Cover
Physical release

Instrumentals is the debut mixtape of American record producer Clams Casino. It was self-released as a free digital download on March 7, 2011. It features instrumentals of tracks that he produced for various rappers, including some bonus songs. In July 2011,[1] Instrumentals was reissued by Type Records as a physical release.[2]


Instrumentals consists of Clams Casino's reconstructions of backing tracks he originally produced for rappers such as Lil B and Soulja Boy.[3] An electronic mixtape,[4] it features illbient, glitchbeat, and chillwave styles.[3] Some of the mixtape explores a more traditional hip hop sound. Its second half touches on bouncy basslines ("She's Hot"), dubstep-influenced, low-end grind ("Brainwash by London"), and vocal looping similar to the production of Kanye West ("Cold War").[1] Instrumentals appropriates Casino's previous hip hop beats into moody compositions, which are characterized by melodramatic drum crescendos and melancholic electronic sounds.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Instrumentals was well received by music critics. Andrew Ryce of Resident Advisor gave it a score of four out of five and called it "a collection of aching, blown-out paeans to wonder, sadness and profound joy—music that any of the above could fall in love with."[1] Pitchfork Media's Brandon Soderberg gave the mixtape a score of 8.2 and said that Casino's "attention to hip-hop structure ... makes these beats so emotionally devastating."[4] Rory Gibb of The Quietus felt that, without the rappers they were originally produced for, the instrumentals are "revealed as intricate enough to stand alone in their own right", while sounding "ephemeral and peculiarly of this moment, phantom aggregations of mood and sound that coalesce for brief periods of time before potentially disengaging at some undisclosed point in the future."[2] Tom Lea of Fact magazine gave it a score of four-and-a-half out of five and said that the tracks "snap and bang in all the right places", with productions "so packed with white and blue brush strokes that they threaten to spill off the canvas at any moment."[5]

Sputnikmusic's Conrad Tao felt that, although it is occasionally conventional, Casino's approach to sampling is "refreshingly abstract". He gave the mixtape a score of three-and-a-half out of five and said that it basically serves as "a hugely enticing teaser for what promises to be an illustrious career filled with sumptuous, bittersweet music."[6] MSN Music's Robert Christgau gave Instrumentals an "A–" and said that Casino's "comfortably disquieting" sound "will grow on you if you give it a chance. And because it's designed to back into your space, providing the chance won't feel all that time-consuming, preoccupied as you'll be with something more engrossing while said time passes."[3]


Pitchfork Media placed it at number 17 in its top-50 albums of 2011.[7] In 2014 Pitchfork also placed the album at 100 on its list of "Best Albums of the Decade So Far."[8] It ranked the song "Motivation" number 30 on its list of the Top-100 Tracks of 2011.[9] Stereogum ranked the mixtape number 21 on its year-end top albums list.[10]

Track listing[edit]

  1. Motivation (4:28)
  2. All I Need (3:44)
  3. Real Shit from a Real Nigga (2:56)
  4. Realist Alive (4:00)
  5. Numb (3:55)
  6. What You Doin' (4:19)
  7. The World Needs Change (2:25)
  8. I'm Official (2:18)
  9. Brainwash by London (2:56)
  10. Illest Alive (4:09)
  11. She's Hot (2:56)
  12. Cold War (2:50)
  13. 13 (1:19)


  1. ^ a b c Ryce, Andrew (August 15, 2011). "RA Reviews: Clams Casino - Instrumentals (Album)". Resident Advisor. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Gibb, Rory (August 22, 2011). "Clams Casino". The Quietus. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (February 14, 2012). "Skrillex/Clams Casino". MSN Music. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Soderberg, Brandon (April 8, 2011). "Clams Casino: Instrumental Mixtape". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ Lea, Tom (August 15, 2011). "Clams Casino: Instrumentals". Fact (London). Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ Tao, Conrad (May 21, 2011). "Clams Casino - Instrumental Mixtape (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top-50 Albums of 2011". Pitchfork Media. December 15, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far (2010-2014) | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  9. ^ "The Top-100 Tracks of 2011". Pitchfork Media. December 12, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Stereogum’s Top-50 Albums Of 2011". Stereogum. December 5, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]