On December 14th of 2013- almost a year ago now- I emailed Singapore Sling Tapes about the Giant Claw cassette "Tear in Static". I was a little slow to the punch, as the cassette had come out three months prior, and this was no doubt going to sell out which is why I probably never heard back from the fine people who run SST. Since then, the name of Giant Claw has been in the back of my mind though I had never actually heard the music and it was only more of an "in name only" legend.
A few months ago now, maybe more recently I don't know because my concept of time is shot, one of my friends on Facebook was posting about this new album and how it was set to be album of the year. Given my knowing of at least the name Giant Claw as well as the fact that I trust the musical opinion of this cassette label operator, I decided "DARK WEB" was something that I needed to hear.
First and foremost I must say that Giant Claw's "DARK WEB" is what music reviewers such as myself come to dread when they have to review it. This is not in the typical bad way because music that doesn't really appeal to me just ends up getting passed on. Why writers will most likely ignore this record (or make up excuses about how the download links didn't work or the actual record was lost in the mail) is because you can't pinpoint this to one or even several points of reference. It's so much easier when you can simply say, "This sounds like "Band X" and I like "Band X" so therefore I like this. If you like "Band X" then you will like this too".
My initial thought on this is that it is vaporwave but saying that seems about as accurate as saying Beethoven played piano. There are these sounds and bits of R&B vocals that you might hear in a vaporwave song, sure, but they are chopped up, screwed and presented in a way unlike any other I have heard before. For purposes of an event I witnessed yesterday I can only compare this with one act that comes seemingly close and that is a magic trick.
Have you seen the trick where the magician takes a piece of paper or napkin, rips it up, squeezes it into his hand and then spits it back out in some other whole form? Giant Claw does exactly that here only with vaporwave music being his possible starting point. (We'll just say it is to keep things from expanding too far here) Having the sound of vaporwave dissected and transmitted in a different would sound like a remix on paper, but rather Giant Claw manages to take the sound and manipulate it so as to recreate a sound all his own.
I could compare this to other art forms- the way a sculptor molds clay, a mosiac of small pictures designed to form one giant overall picture, etc.- but in terms of music I have never heard anything quite like this before and it just works so well. For anyone who thinks that electronic music is just pushing a series of buttons on a computer and it's so easy to duplicate I challenge them to create something as genuinely unique and beautiful as this.