wed 20/06/2018

CD: Dälek - Endangered Philosophies | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dälek - Endangered Philosophies

CD: Dälek - Endangered Philosophies

Hip hop and experimentalism collide with results best consumed in small doses

Artwork by Dälek's regular visual collaborator, the Philadelphian artist Paul Romano

One of the stranger things about popular music is how unwilling most are to crossbreed and experiment. Surely that’s where the real kicks are? Most seem to prefer ploughing ruts that were overfamiliar 10, 20, 30, even 40 years ago. Either that or slavishly imitating contemporary cheese. Why’s there not more avant-salsa? Where’s the ambient country scene? Who’s into Teutonic electro-ska? The career of New Jersey three-piece Dälek hints at the answer to such questions. Consistently firing out an absorbing and original fusion of hip hop and feedback-laden space-rock/noise, they’re no nearer the Billboard 200 than when they began nearly 20 years ago.

Their latest album, their eighth (and second after a four-year sabbatical), continues their journey. Cuts such as “The Son of Immigrants” mix Public Image and Public Enemy, via the swirling soundscapes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the like. They have an underlying, narcotised appeal, melodies flecking amid a jangling mist of controlled cacophony. Dälek make music that has dark power, riding chugging, industrial breakbeats, but, in the end, they’re a dish better tasted than served as a meal.

Endangered Philosophies runs the gamut from the psychedelic noise-assault of “A Collective Cancelled Thought” to the swirling downtempo lyrical showcase of “Weapons”, but the tone never changes and the way the lyrics are sludged way down in the mix, despite being angry and often politicised, adds to a sense of increasing sameness as the album continues. It’s one of those where, a few songs in, the listener is swept away by the relentless, grinding atmosphere, but a bit later on the formula has become somewhat monotonous. It’s not that the style doesn’t work. It’s just that the album lacks the dynamism to carry it to its conclusion. In a very 21st century style, then, it’s an album worth having stashed amid the playlist shuffle.

Overleaf: watch the video of Dälek's "Echoes of..."

They have an underlying, narcotised appeal, melodies flecking amid a jangling mist of controlled cacophony


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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