Posts Tagged ‘Dälek’

Ipecac Recordings – 29th April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Dälek emerged in the late 90s when hip-hop was transforming in all directions. But while the Wu-Tang Clan and their offshoot projects had a level of dynamism and radicalism about them, it’s no understatement that Dälek shattered through their achievements, and if there was any debate about that, then Precipice really should settle it. It’s felt like we’ve been teetering on the edge of a precipice for a long time, and that pre-millennium tension has, over time, proven justified as the entire world careers into some kind of end-of-days chaos. If this sounds like some hysterical end-of-days paranoia panic, you’re probably not paying attention. The pandemic was just a sideshow, a distraction from global tension, climate change… Trump, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and the threat of nuclear war stepped up to levels not seen since the 80s… Are we still at the edge of the precipice, or have we just tipped – or powered, full-throttle – over it? I’m too dazed and bewildered to know, but Dälek have provided a soundtrack that conveys the sense of confusion and dislocation brought on by uncertainty and tension.

‘Lest We Forget’ is a mid-shade, mid-tempo swell of ambience that swirls around densely before ‘Boycott’ hits hard and heavy. Christ, that booming bass! That eddying noise that drones and warps! The beats! Man, the fucking beats! They’re heavy alright, and there’s no let up on ‘Decimation (Dis Nation)’.

If so much mainstream contemporary hip-hop has been overtly commercial, with Precipice, Dälek remind that hip-hop’s origins were a voice of protest, of antagonism toward the mainstream, against the government, against oppression, against suppression. N.W.A were telling it like it is with ‘Fuck Tha Police’, and fuck shit, nothing has changed thirty-four years later.

Dälek are a whole lot more subtle and less up-front and in your face in their antagonism, but they’re no less aggrieved, and no less political. This means that their impact is just as powerful, albeit in different ways, and sonically, Dälek are devastating. There’s a physicality to their music, and where the lyrics aren’t necessarily so prominent, the weight of the beats, the density of the bass and the murk of the midrange combine to create a force like colliding with a wall of breeze blocks.

‘The Harbingers’ slows things down, and it’s dark, stark, the atmosphere desperate, desolate, while ‘Devotion (when I cry the wind disappears)’ feels almost uplifting as the synths soar and their subtle, sonorous sounds swoop upwards before the seven-minute ‘A Heretic’s Inheritance’ crashes in, hard, cyclical, heavy, an urgent throbbing riff marking the intro amidst a maelstrom of scratching feedback and extraneous noise. It throbs and thrums, and this isn’t hip-hop like you get on the radio, it’s not the shit—hop of the mainstream beloved by the masses. No, this is fucking brutal, and it kicks and punches hard, repeatedly, leaving you winded, breathless, gurgling., while MC dälek repeats the mantra ‘I hold myself to high standards / I don’t give a fuck if the gods are angry’. No doubt that applies to the gods of capital. Fuck them.

The title track is weightier still, and it’s positively skull-crushing, and it goes to show that it doesn’t have to be metal to be heavy, and the final track, ‘Incite’ is stark, tense, and gloomy, rounding off an album that packs a lot of weight and tension. It’s hard to place exactly how it feels as an experience, and how it sits, musically. Precipice is the sound of dislocation, of alienation. It’s real life.

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Forged in the fires of the East Coast underground music scene in the 90s, experimental Hip Hop pioneers, Union City, NJ-based duo Dälek has spent decades carving out a unique niche fusing hardcore Hip Hop, noise and a radical approach to sound. Their brutal sonic temperament pushes rap music’s capacity for noise and protest to some exhilarating conclusions.

Following in the footsteps of their predecessors Public Enemy while drawing from influences as varied as My Bloody Valentine and German experimentalists Faust, Dälek have succeeded in adding completely new textural and structural dimensions to rap music.

A visceral and powerful live act, Dälek spent over a decade touring and bringing their raucous and blistering performances to audiences around the world. During this time they toured with and supported a wide range of acts in the Hip Hop, Rock, Metal, and Experimental genres including Flying Lotus, De La Soul, TOOL, The Melvins, Grandmaster Flash, Pharcyde, Fantomas, KRS One and The Bug.

For their latest and eighth album, Precipice, Dälek unleashes a work that is practically bristling with fury and power. Arriving on April 29th via Ipecac Recordings. Predominantly the work of the core duo, Will Brooks, aka MC Dälek and Mike Manteca (Mike Mare), Precipice features a guest appearance of Adam Jones of Tool on one of the album’s tracks. The band has enlisted Paul Romano (Mastodon) for the striking cover art, and the packaging features the art of Mikel Elam.

Today Dälek are sharing a video for the brickyard boom-bap track ‘Decimation (Dis Nation)’ which was directed by Brooks and can be viewed here:

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Initiated before the outbreak of COVID-19, the group briefly put Precipice on hold before returning to inject a newer, more dynamic energy into the album’s songs. The result is a timely work, that is teaming with immediacy.

Precipice was a completely different record pre-pandemic.” MC Dälek explains. “We had been working on the sketch of what the album was going to be at the end of 2019. I think me and (Mike) Manteca had narrowed it down to 17 joints out of the 46 or so that we had started with. Me and Joshua Booth had taken the 17 and really fleshed out the joints. The idea was to bounce them back to Mike and then arrange and write lyrics. 2020 obviously had different plans for everybody. We basically put everything on hold. I ended up doing the MEDITATIONS series that year on my own. I think the catharsis of that project, its rawness, the pandemic, all the death, the social upheaval, everything that went down… when I went back and listened to what we had down… it just wasn’t right anymore, it wasn’t strong enough, it wasn’t heavy enough, it wasn’t angry enough. It just didn’t say what I needed it to say.

With Precipice, Dälek have once again tapped into the heartbeat of the day and used that energy to create a vital statement about the world we live in. Continuing in the long tradition of revolutionary Hip Hop, Precipice builds new cadences born out of tumultuous times.

After decades of challenging and expanding the sonic fabric of Hip Hop itself, giving way to new approaches and possibilities, Dälek is set to take their rightful place as one of the culture’s true innovators.

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Dalek

Photo Credit: MICHAEL PATRAS

Ipecac Recordings – 1st September 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

Dälek have always been about progress and evolution, and not only remaining contemporary but pushing the parameters. Since they emerged in ’98, they’ve stood at the forefront of the challenging end of hip-hop, a genre which has witnessed immense expansion over the last two decades – but has equally seen its horizons shrink dramatically within the suffocating avenues of the commercial mainstream. One might say that this polarity is a key fact in the framing of Endangered Philosophies. The polarisation between the mainstream and everything else musical is representative of the world at large: the political landscape provides perhaps the most significant and substantial indicator here, with left and right parties both moving further away from centre and claiming almost equal ground in the process, and not just domestically here in England.

Endangered Philosophies is an album for the now, as the press release points out: ‘Within the context of the current political landscape, the title Endangered Philosophies certainly brings to mind pertinent issues of moment, notably the rampant rise of anti-intellectualism, as well as the all too rapid erosion of genuinely progressive values in the face of fearful reactionary forces.’

‘Echoes Of…’ launches the album with a nauseating washing machine churn that grinds along before the thumping rhythm crashes in. the vocals are low in the mix – rare and seemingly contradictory for a hip-hop album, but this is Dälek, an act as inclined toward rock and industrial tropes as conventional hip-hop stylings. It’s a gnarling industrialised trudge, and the whiplash scratching and other overt concessions to genre form are crushed hard against one another into an oppressive and intense slab of sound.

‘Weapons’ is woozy, dark, and suffocating. ‘Few Understand’ is less abrasive, but rides on a dense, pulsating swell of sound underpinned by a plodding beneath that carries a real weight. Sometimes, a live drum sound is all it takes to elevate a hip-hop track above the conventions and into fresh, liberated territories.

With the vocals enveloped in delay and heavy layers of extraneous noise, the lyrics aren’t always entirely prominent, but the sentiment is entirely clear at all times. The shuffling trudge of ‘Son of Immigrants’ is underpinned by an almost subsonic bass. In contrast, there’s something approaching a levity about ‘Beyond the Madness’, the semi-ambient synths drifting cinematically over the insistent rhythm, and the seven-minute ‘A Collective Cancelled Thought’ is monumentally weighty, the bass churning beneath a shifting, turning squall of sound. ‘Battlecries’ is slow and bleak, with lyrics about black males being murdered and the state of culture and society providing the message to the work of the mixed medium.

It’s the contrasts which lie at the heart of the compositions on Endangered Philosophies which make it the album it is, and which render it so compelling.

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Dälek share a brand new video for ‘Echoes Of…’, the opening track from their upcoming new album, Endangered Philosophies (1st September, Ipecac Recordings). The video was directed, animated, and produced by Chris White (EAM – Electric Action Messages).

Watch below, and check out their recently announced European tour dates further down.

ENDANGERED PHILOSOPHIES TOUR DATES:

Thu. 2-Nov-2017 FR Grenoble – La Bobine w/ Labrats Bugband
Sat. 4-Nov-2017 FR Lyon – Bizarre! w/ Dead Obies
Sun 5-Nov-2017 CH Martigny – Les Caves Du Manoir
Mon 6-Nov-2017 DE Esslingen – Komma
Tue 7-Nov-2017 DE Nuremburg – Musik Verein
Wed 8-Nov-2017 DE Berlin – Urban Spree w/ debmaster 
Fri 10-Nov-2017 DK Copenhagen – Stengade 
Sun 12-Nov-2017 BE Kortrijk – Sonic City Festival, curated by Thurston Moore, with Moor Mother…
Tue 14-Nov-2017 UK Colchester – Colchester Arts Centre
Wed 15-Nov-2017 NO Oslo – Bla with Moor Mother
Thu 16-Nov-2017 UK London  – Underworld Camden
Fri 17-Nov-2017 FR Paris – Batobar
Sat. 18-Nov-2017 FR Brest – Festival Invisible at La Carene with Action Beat and Camera

SUMMER TOUR DATES:

Fri. 18-Aug-2017 Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA
Sat. 19-Aug-2017 Double Happiness – Columbus, OH
Sun. 20-Aug-2017 Mac’s – Lansing, MI
Mon. 21-Aug-2017 Reggies – Chicago, IL (w/ Cult Of Luna)
Tue. 22-Aug-2017 Mod Club Theatre – Toronto, Canada (w/ Cult Of Luna)
Wed. 23-Aug-2017 Corona Theatre – Montreal, Canada (w/ Cult Of Luna)
Thu. 24-Aug-2017 Worcester Palladium – Worcester, MA (w/ Cult Of Luna)

Fri. 25-Aug-2017 Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY (w/ Cult Of Luna)

Sat. 28-Oct  Baltimore, MD  Rams Head (Days of Darkness Festival)

The abrasive, otherworldly hiphop pioneers Dälek will be touring this month for a week of live shows, following on from the release of their 2016 comeback LP, Asphalt For Eden (Profound Lore), the first new record from the NYC trio since 2009. Ahead of these shows, they have released a brand new track, ‘Molten’, and the wind-tunnel production and furious wordsmith delivery that have become the group’s calling card have been amped up to reflect the song’s theme…

  "After this unprecedented Presidential campaign, a venting was needed. This is bigger than the individual candidates, bigger than a broken system, bigger than the dumbing down of America. ‘Molten’ is the quiet rage, angst, and sadness against the current climate in our country and in this world, it’s a state of mind and emotions manifested. ‘Molten’ is the guttural yell into the nothingness by those of us who still think."

Their live performances are known as intense events that often end in a shoved mic stand and sonically assaultive layers of sound. Witnessing Dälek live is like coming face to face with the bastard child of Public Enemy and My Bloody Valentine; an amalgamation of the heaviest noise that the Velvet Underground or Merzbow ever unleashed and the knowledge spit by the likes of Rakim. The trio leaves you in a trance, sends shivers down your spine from the haunting beats intertwined with ambient textures and noise scales, and hits you with a powerful raw flow from one of the most charismatic MC’s of his, or any, era.

Listen to ‘Molten’ below. Full list of UK live dates after the jump.

 

 

 

22/11 – The Louisiana, Bristol
23/11 – Saint Lukes, Glasgow

24/11 – Chunk, Leeds *new addition
25/11 – Thomas House, Dublin
26/11 – Corsica Studios, London
27/11 – Islington Mill, Salford

Dälek, pioneers of abrasive and distorted hip hop, have teamed up with Swedish music hardware makers Elektron for the Dälek Soundscapes Sound pack. The samples are results and outtakes of the late night studio sessions giving birth to their geniously intense seventh album Asphalt for Eden.

Broken, melodic, beautiful: this is a brutally honest testament of both the creative process and aural aesthetics of the grinding machine known to man as Dälek.

Get your lugs round it here: