Cautious Clay is not f***ing around. Listen to his cover of “So Many Details” by Toro Y Moi and you’ll understand.
At its heart, it’s twisted romance served à la acoustic guitar… no, it’s really more of an R&B-electronic fusion piece, with the occasional sprinklings of heavily reverbed, psychedelic arpeggios… or is it all about those luscious bars of saxophone floating in the rafters towards the end?… or what about the fact that it has the grooviest, most delicate rumblings of a bass you’ve ever heard in your life?
Spoiler alert: it’s all of the above and more.
“Genre-defying” is an adjective often thrown around all-too casually, but it applies here. Clay took Toro Y Moi’s original – an indie-garage-thumper of electronica – and gave it not just one, but multiple, new flavors. This is a special song because there is no genre. It’s simply him.
The arrangement flexes Cautious Clay’s musical chops as it takes the listener on a ride from style to style. He weaves in and out of his own familiar territory (from saxophone and slow-decaying 808s to guitar riffs and choppy, synthetic bass). Still, the song manages to feel cohesive throughout, down to the smallest detail. His percussion is sparse and mature: each clap, snap, cymbal, and high-hat is in its place for a reason. This precision is balanced against the human touch of the acoustic guitar, played against a background of muffled voices, almost as if the song were being performed to the approving patrons of a local coffee shop. In a word, the song is dynamic: from the mixing to the style to the instrumentation choices, every second offers a new and welcome surprise.
Be on the lookout for Cautious Clay, not just on the vast expanses of the internet, but in Washington, DC! He’s part of the local collective, Proper Vibes, which is also home to Georgetown’s own Evan Inc. (formerly Keylow), as well as other DC artists. He’s also performed as an opener at U Street Music Hall. His talent has yet to be recognized at large, but it’s only a matter of time. Because, well… because Cautious Clay is not f***ing around.
Feature photo is from Cautious Clay’s Facebook page.
**I would encourage everyone to visit him (and Proper Vibes) on their respective socials!