Culled from a series of limited 10" releases, Clouddead
's eponymous debut isn't so much a fully formed album as it is a well-executed exercise in seasick, proggist psychedelia. With background textures that rival Boards of Canada
in pastoral, tree-lined opacity and an obvious predilection for boggy atmospherics, Clouddead
handily distances themselves from the rest of their hip-hop brethren. Indeed, this is something more considered and sinister -- less about wayward braggadocio than it is about keeping your doors deadbolted at all hours of the night. Even their less-is-more approach to vocalism eventually starts playing tricks on your mind; when lyricists Dose and Why? emerge, it's usually to puncture the pleasant fog of some dulcet, wavering sample. The whole album reads like that; the sonic equivalent of your first legitimate drug trip as narrated by two jittery but triumphant kids who can't bear to keep their choice hiding place a secret any longer. While it's perhaps a tad overlong, Clouddead
doesn't suffer from any shortage of great ideas. It's menacing, it's enthralling, and it's one of few modern-day records (hip-hop or otherwise) that honestly doesn't sound like anything -- or anyone -- else.