Clams' production style is distinct, taking sizable chunks from random source material and flattening them out into sheets of grainy, distorted melody. It's an effect that renders the smallest movements in orchestral grandeur, the aural equivalent of Instagram. Piano chords turn into gauzy splotches ("What You Doin"), vocals are stretched out into savant-opera ("Realist Alive"). You can hear it all come together right from the beginning, in one of the most memorable opening tracks of any album this year: orchestral passages and shrieking synths intertwine between heaving drums in "Motivation" for something that sounds more suited to film credits than Lil B's druggy drawl.
He isn't just an awestruck stargazer, however, and some of Instrumentals successfully caters to a more traditional hip-hop vibe. The second half of the album plays with bouncy basslines ("She's Hot"), dubstep-influenced low-end grind ("Brainwash by London") and Kanye-style vocal looping ("Cold War"). In short, Instrumentals reveals a budding talent with a signature sound that's determinedly DIY but unusually mature. His instrumentals are dense enough to survive naked without verses, and belong on legendary avant-garde labels just as much as dodgy-looking hip-hop mixtape websites.