A very nontraditional album, Clipping’s “Double Live” is as much about the communal experience of music as it is about the music itself.
It’s Clipping, bitch.
Just had to get that out of the way first.
2020 took a lot from us, and I will not go into how much for fear that it’ll make you and I both depressed. One of the saddest immaterial losses, however, was the experience of live music. Sure, there’s always the livestreamed at-home concert or reviewing your old videos from live shows that seem centuries ago. But the past year essentially eliminated the live concert experience if you’re wanting to be a safe person (and God, I hope you’re being a safe person; please wear a mask because this pandemic is not over at the time of this writing).
In spite of this unfortunate state of affairs, there’s always the good ol’ fashioned live album to give you the experience of being at a concert without risking your health. And in the case of this record, Double Live, you get the live clipping. experience — as though you were in the nosebleeds, out getting merch, or in the bathroom cleaning up after a mosh pit incident.
Double Live is a very special live album because you get the truest concert experience possible.
Clipping vocalist Daveed Diggs and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Huston worked with audio specialist Christopher Fleeger to record snippets from their 2017 tour, promoting their sci-fi album Splendor & Misery.
You get Diggs’s amazing flow and the stellar musical work of Snipes and Huston, and you get to hear Diggs’s banter with the audience.
But you also get to hear the sounds of nature and the sounds of the audience talking. You get to hear anonymous folks’ normal conversations (a notable phrase is “It’s clipping, but it’s not really clipping” from a highly distorted version of “Shooter”), the sounds of roadies moving gear back and forth, feedback, rushing water, static, and all sorts of life.
This is because the band recorded with microphones attached to everything… including nearby trees, roadies, ceiling pipes, even the insides of toilets.
What happens from this is a lousy live album if you’re looking for a cut and dry live album.
MTV Unplugged, this sure isn’t.
But if you’re looking for something to really get you into the truest and dirtiest spirit of the concerts you’re missing because of the past godawful year, and you’re happy to dive into how strange the musique concrete of this album is, then give this record a listen.
It made me feel strangely comforted, like I was back at my first rock show again, hiding out in the bathroom while Thou played because my ears were ringing and I couldn’t stop grinning like a fool.
It’s a weird record, but it’s beautiful in its weirdness and it fulfills an important purpose.
It reminds you of what waits for us when all of this is over and the music can play again in safety.