Ten, Big Dada
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The Independent Culture

As perverse as their typography, cLOUDDEAD's Ten is the sound of hip hop falling apart, of language pushed so far from the demotic norm that it all but abandons meaning, strapped to music that disdains the usual rap imperatives of beat and direction. Instead, apparently random lines are murmured, whispered or blurted over ominous industrial throbs of noise and mismatched sonic fragments, occasionally caressed by tuneful backing harmonies, as if to suggest some deeper musical logic at work. It's extraordinary how much equipment they employ to come up with music that remains resolutely indistinct, without a hint of melody disturbing its surface; but then, what backing would be appropriate for lines such as "A rattlesnake caught in a wheel well/ Strawberry in an ostrich throat"? A preoccupation with animals, guns and death is just discernible in some tracks: "Son of a Gun" attacks US gun culture and arms manufacturers, while "Physics of a Unicycle" portrays the Wright Brothers as ushering in the era of "the tale of the thumb trigger cloud kill". "Rifle Eyes" and "Dead Dogs Two", meanwhile, employ descriptions of roadkill carcasses and car-crash victims to make some point about the visceral nature of death. At least, I think so; but then, if they wanted to make their views clear, they wouldn't have obscured them with such uninviting musical backdrops.