June 5, 2019

Claud5 - Claudscape Review


Only a couple months after releasing his debut concept album, Dogs Carry Knives, Claud5 is back again with a tropicana, hip-hop, and nujabes-infused summer album, Claudscape! Not to put his debut, atmospheric, electronic debut in the rearview mirror, but in a way, to show another side to his persona, Claudscape is best enjoyed while kicked back on a warm, summer day, with a drink in hand, and it's an exciting genesis for an artist who clearly has been saving his songs in the bank and allowing them to grow in quantity and quality.

Claudscape opens with a touching tribute to a hip-hop producer who met an untimely fate in 2010 at the young age of 36, Nujabes, with his tribute song, Rip Nujabes. It gives listeners and previous fans of Nujabes a hint at exactly what this album is about. Nujabes had a knack for creating beautiful hip-hop tracks with many forward-thinking artists, which tended to blend with jazz and deal with matters of the heart, something hardcore hip-hop can lack, and which could be the reason some people can be turned off by the genre altogether. Nujabes showed the world that hip-hop can be beautiful too, and for anyone who doesn't know of this man, I highly recommend a playthrough of a couple of his albums to understand his impact. Claud5, like Nujabes, serves up tasteful and playful hip-hop concoctions that tell a story.

His second and fourth tracks, Frutti Di Mare, and Cafune, show off crisp, tropicana, hip-hop vibes, while others, such as Ocracoke Island (Mist), Mindset, and Lalala spin with a dark and mysterious, yet exhilarating flow that demands repeated plays. Hostage places listeners in the middle of a cocktail lounge of a sexy spy film, while Berkshire takes it back a few hundred years, with the classical piano sample that, when blended with hip-hop drums, feels beautiful and modern at the same time. Whether you are in the mood to chill or groove, Claudscape seems to have it all, and cover a variety of moods as it plays through its 17 colorful compositions.

As the temperature gets warmer this season, there always seems to be a musical feeling that pairs with the weather. The change in weather is also just as quick as the mood of Claudscape when it moves from song to song. Claud5 tells me that there's one more big release this year, a 5 track EP in June, so stay tuned for more Claud5, and until then enjoy his now two (!) full length-albums, Dogs Carry Knives, and Claudscape!

Claudscape - 8/10

Recommended Tracks: Ocracoke Island (Mist), Mindset, Berkshire