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Eleven Tigers
Clouds Are Mountains David Stubbs , June 8th, 2010 11:33

Burial arrived like a sort of Big Bang in the Age Of Entropy. As with post-punk, he blasted a new void, a future sound full of foreboding, created a space in which all that seemed possible was diminishing echoes, rhythms broken down to smoky wisps of grain, sampled vocals receding like holograms blasted back in the mix, full of lamentation for the times when things were really happening in this town.

Eleven Tigers, aka Lithuanian producer Jokubas Dargis, has an impressive background and musical pedigree, as well as fine taste in music as the mix he did for The Quietus's Sonic Router attests. All of this feeds into the nuance and rich variegation of Clouds Are Mountains. But Dargis makes no secret of the fact that Burial was an impetus for him to produce. Clouds Are Mountains is not some mere derivative, however, a leaf from 'Ghost Hardware's twig. Clouds Are Mountains answers, in full, the question as to what happens after Burial, a question even Burial himself may be having problems answering.

'Open Mirror' immediately entices you into the Eleven Tigers multiverse, melancholic, billowing shards of looking glass but with the heavy engine patter of drum'n'bass carving through it like a giant knife. 'Made Of' opens up like a wormhole, a gaping maw of distressed, processed, post-post rock guitar, before 'Songs For You', whose dulcet, Dolores-like vocal tones represent the only element of the album that is merely pleasant, as opposed to awesome. Its backdrop is a gabble of chatter, reflecting the twittering garrulousness of social networking in the modern age, like flocks of starlings on telegraph wires in the ether.

The album then picks up overdrive steam with 'Couldn't', 'Thesis' and 'Frozen Wheel', driving by the stick-fighting rhythms that are Burial's trademark but also by a sort of attack-ships-on-fire cosmic, propulsive rage which takes in everything in its ken. Here as elsewhere, Eleven Tigers combines a lens-grinder's editing precision and acute sense of juxtaposition with a Hubble telescopic vastness of vision. 'Stood Up' reaches a crest, of course, solid and slaloming, but it's with 'Flux' that the breakdown begins, the exquisite groaning and stress fractures. The reggae-tinged 'Atom Turnip' and 'Sparkles', however, break up the gloom, the latter ascending into a spiral of heavenly vocal dervish. Finally, the joyous descent of 'Stableface', with its looped mantra of "Tonight... tonight" and the fast-cut fury of 'There Will Be Time' produce inexplicable bursts of endorphins in the ear and mindstream. What, then, happens after Burial? Not despair and disappearance, but a determined, affirmative nowness – not nothing, but everything. One of the albums of 2010.