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CLOUD DEAD are at the 'rock' (or at least, post-rock) end of the hip hop spectrum. Their admirers include Boards of Canada, Tortoise, Hood, Freestyle Fellowship, Matmos, Kid 606, de la Soul etc. Basically, they operate on the same playing field as Beck, Badly Drawn Boy and Elliott Smith. It's not that difficult... stick it in your 'post-rock' section and watch it fly out! 2001 release.
Clouddead has a hard-to-classify sound; if you described it as "lo-fi ambient spoken word meets surreal hip-hop with an indie rock bent," you'd be leaving a lot out. The CD compiles previously released 10-inches created by producer Odd Nosdam and MCs Dose One and Why?--all members of Anticon, the West Coast hip-hop collective. The MCs rap, recite, and sing words that make Beck's lyrics sound tame and fussy by comparison. Their declamation can be goofy, swaggering, funny, swinging, nasal--you name it. This extremely open-ended and varied use of language recalls the work of the sonically inclined poet Edwin Torres. Sometimes the language on this disc can be almost inaudible; then it's just another element in Nosdam's lovely and murky music. Albums this odd often confuse people. Also, like this one, they can be extremely compelling. --Fred Cisterna
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If all this sounds confused, that's because it is, for every moment when `Cloudead' feel the listener is becoming accustomed & starting to settle in, they completely confound expectations by pulling something new out of the bag. Track #4 "And All You Can Do Is Laugh, Pt 2", opens with a gloomy anxious organ arrangement underpinned with a the most stripped down of slow moving beats, before Doseone storms in with a over enthusiastic vocal swagger before ending his near incomprehensible dialogue, with the quote "F*** `em!!, if they can't take a joke", before Doseone & Why?, burst into falsetto Nursery rhyme sing along, thorough a song, that changes dymanic more times than any traditional song has a right to (on many occasions you'll actually think another song has started, when in fact it's the same song).
If you're a Dosone fan, then this has to rank amongst his finest work, he's names been attached, and you can buy in the assurance that he displays some of his most impressive lyrical work here. Those trying this album for the first time are well advised to enter into this with a very open mind (or at least have some experience with Experimental Hip-Hop), as its unlike anything else, and yet undeniably a difficult listen, but strangely rewarding at the same time. If you do enjoy this album as much as the other people that have reviewed it, the pinnacle of Doseone's work can be found on the breathtaking "Boom Bip & Doseone - Circles" album, which takes this template, and runs away with it, taking it to it's logical extreme, and manages to comfortably surpass the brilliance of this album. But irrespective of that, this album is something of a rare (experimental) gem, that's demands purchase for those looking for something a little different in their music.
I've listened to a lot of music in my time and there are very few albums that compare to this. Speaking mostly of this genre, of course. It reminds me of how I felt the first time I ever heard "Endtroducing" by DJ Shadow. It's even similiar to "Endtroducing" but more experimental. I always wanted to be able to erase that album from my memory to enjoy it all over again. cLOUDDEAD, in a sense, have granted me that wish with this release. To say this is some incredible music is sort of an understatement. It's very atmospheric and spaceous, but at the same time very beat driven. It also happens to have the sweetest sample of "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues. I won't tell you which song. You'll know it when you hear it.
The artists here are from an underground hip hop collective from San Francisco known as anticon. If you dig this release, I would suggest checking out all the other artists from anticon. Although, I think this album is the finest of all those. Just my opinion...
Should appeal to anyone into experimental music and underground hip-hop. Some may not like why? and Doseone's vocal styles, but don't let that stop you. I think it's quite interesting once you hear how it plays with the album.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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