Since the release of CLPPNG, things have changed for the band William finished his Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies with a dissertation on experimental music, Jonathan composed scores for the films Starry Eyes, The Nightmare, Excess Flesh, and Contracted: Phase II, and Daveed hit Broadway. Their activities outside Clipping have always influenced their work in the band, but never as much as in the creation of Splendor & Misery.
Splendor & Misery is an Afrofuturist, dystopian concept album that follows the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and the onboard computer that falls in love with him. Thinking he is alone and lost in space, the character discovers music in the ship s shuddering hull and chirping instrument panels. William and Jonathan s tracks draw an imaginary sonic map of the ship s decks, hallways, and quarters, while Daveed s lyrics ride the rhythms produced by its engines and machinery. In a reversal of H.P. Lovecraft s concept of cosmic insignificance, the character finds relief in learning that humanity is of no consequence to the vast, uncaring universe. It turns out, pulling the rug out from under anthropocentrism is only horrifying to those who thought they were the center of everything to begin with. Ultimately, the character decides to pilot his ship into the unknown and possibly into oblivion instead of continuing on to worlds whose systems of governance and economy have violently oppressed him.