Fresh US hip-hop on a bucolic tip

And so the avant-rap scene burps up its murkiest, most challenging offering yet. Three members of California-via-Cincinnati hip-hop collective Anticon - rappers Doseone and Why? and producer/ turntablist Nosdam - gathered together a year or so back, armed with shitty samplers and notebooks full of eerie poetics. Their mission? To fill two sides of ten-inch vinyl with the most abstract, mind-bending noise they could muster. Five super-rare EPs later, and these much-whispered-about recordings are compiled together.

It isn't, by any means, easy listening. This music takes the most abstract fallout of trip-hop as its starting point, working in white noise, telephone pranks and post-rock textures to create a disorientating mush you'll spend weeks getting lost in. It's not for everyone, as the Marmite-esque partisan reactions it has prompted in this very office prove.

But this is pure, beautiful music, for those who can acclimatise to the bizarre sonic terrain. Why? and Doseone's vocals take in Marvin Gaye-esque soul-squeals, plantation chants and Rakim-on-Ritalin rhymeflows, while Nosdam's patchworks veer between dreamy bliss-outs and nightmarish bruises of dischord (see 'JimmyBreeze'). Defying any description, vaulting

all boundaries, cLOUDDEAD are utterly essential.

Stevie Chick
8 / 10

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