Given that this blog is named after a Dälek song, then my own personal etiquette insists that this unique hip-hop treasure is the first post off the ranks.
Dälek proved a recent smokey addition to the regular listening routine of 2011; I was sold on the first hit. Instantly involving, demanding and distinctive, there is indeed a next level of noise above the beats and lyrical prose that has an eerie combination of education on history and reality, calls to arms and the occasional emotional punch equivalent to a good Twin Peaks scene. A random journey through their catalogue will inform one to just how richly diverse and musically revolutionary the world of hip-hop can really be, if you’re willing to look in the first place.
Dälek (pronounced ‘Die-a-leck’) are a duo comprised of producer Oktopus and lyricist MC Dälek, who have been operating since releasing their premiere EP Negro Necro Nekros in 1998, taking a few cues from the trip-hop aesthetic that was soaring at the time. Since then their signature sound has become elegantly soaked in shoegaze and industrial textures, seamlessly mated with classic hallmarks of hip-hop cut-scratch sampling. One is treated to potent hip-hop beats, distortion soundscapes that only an army of guitars could achieve, middle-eastern and Indian music sample infusions and pensive ambient discourse.
But if you really want potent lyrical discourse, MC Dälek serves it up in spades. Words of gritty urban seething, mystic unlocking through forgotten tongues, togetherness and ponderous utterings. Heady and exciting stuff, much of the time. As their (properly-enunciated) name suggests, Dälek are particularly concerned with the vitality of language and lament the loss of ancient tongues and untainted culture. To which these songs will attest….
With their love of musical experience spanning quite wide, Dälek has ventured readily outside the realms of hip-hop to produce, re-produce and tour with other acts of seemingly incongruent genres, such as Isis, Godflesh and even Tool. On the excellent Deadverse Massive vol. 1, the depth of their remixing and collaboration (intermingled with some Dälek specials) is spread as a sweet mesmerising chutney over the platter of your beat sensibilities. A superb example their recreation of Enon’s whimsical pop-rock single In This City into a slow, atmospheric pot of poignancy.
Their full train of tracks possesses a depth charge of tunes for almost any occasion or state of mind, with the tracktimes trucking between 3-4 minute attention grabbers to their 44 minute Untitled album from 2010.
So if you’re really loving hip-hop, or just curious and open, take a ride through the Dälek catalogue. As one Youtube commenter has said: “Under rated.. under appreciated.. under dog.. under ground.. people who know: know.”