March 8, 2007

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Dälek, Abandoned Language
Ipecac Records, 2007

The umlaut in this MC’s moniker is representative of his band’s refusal to fit easily into a mold, meaning they’re doomed unless the right words slip into their buzz – headphone adventurers and beat addicts, have a seat in the front. You may have heard fringe wonks gushing about Dälek’s previous album, Absence and its non-commercial noise-clobbered hip-hop, and unless you’re a fan of noise you correctly avoided it like a case of Marburg. It’s unfair to say that Abandoned Language is a sell-out, but it’s surely a more accessible version of Absence – drone patterns, unintelligible conversations and drill-press wipeouts are constants of the scenery, but someone’s been listening to trip-hop and now wants a bigger slice of the urban-music pie. This joint’s lacking only when compared to crazily adventurous, thinking-dude’s hip-hop like Astronautilas, since it’s not interested in screwing with different rhythms within the same song, but Tricky would probably be impressed with the brilliantly unique song-within-a-song structures — take a random part from an Air song or horror-film soundtrack, see, add some carnivorous bass and drums, and play it to death, being sure to drown out the sullen (if cookie-cutter) rapper tossing bombs at social ills. The potential here is huge, as hip-hop dips another toe into the great rock n roll melting pot. A Eric W. Saeger