“Eleven Tigers just blew my fucking mind,” I thought.
And this is probably the tenth time I’ve listened to Clouds Are Mountains.
“Who is the third who walks always beside you?”
That number is now closer to fifteen. Realizing that this relative unknown not only explodes genres on one of my favorite albums of the year but also quotes The Wasteland with panache and twists it into one of the more earworm friendly tracks on a densely stacked deck of indelible dream bangers is a priceless sensation.
Eleven Tigers is the artistic name of Lithuanian transplant Jokubas Dargis, who makes his debt to a certain dubstep legend more than apparent: “Influenced by Burial, I went to explore the atmosphere and the ambiance of London metropolis – my current home. I study music technology and do all sorts of activities I never thought to embrace.” Pairing that quote with a listen is the quickest way to realize that he’s driven more by the expansive nature of Burial‘s idealism than simply his style. The first and most obvious difference is the expansive color palette deployed across all corners of this hourlong experience. From taffy-stretched drone tunnels bridging propulsive house and dub techno beats to the clipped channels of unknown conversation forming a preamble to fractured fairy tale dreampop vocals, every lush moment drips with a heart of wanderlust and a propulsive kick in its step.
Breaking with nearly all tradition of its nominal peers, this album has a dramatic heft, an operatic rise and fall structure demanding front to back listening – with the surgical precision of some mythical perfect trance mix to keep everything on a consistently gasp inducing flow. Every time an exquisite groove is discovered and locked into, a new element arises to subtly shift context until a sudden left turn imperceptibly shuffles the entire journey onto yet another new level. The segues – whether in-track or between them – offer nearly as much straight-dope pleasure as the hard hitting segments riding out one of the narcotic beats into that blissful state of pure flowing sound. Almost. This man truly understands the hypothalamic connection to the sort of infectious repetition present in any truly ecstatic dance music. The fact that he manages to fold that in with a nearly spiritual sense of dynamic balance is beyond belief.
But really, believe it; it’s true. Hear the evidence yourself for free streaming right now in high quality and you’ll understand what drove me to immediately place an order on his bandcamp page. It’s just that worth it.