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Old 07-01-2011, 09:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dälek- Absence (2005)

Dälek
Absence
2004
Ipecac Records




Record companies have found the perfect sweet spot for their rappers to achieve commercial success and marketability: It's in between scaring white suburban tweens with a few songs about the struggle on the streets, drugs and being a typical gangsta. And yet being able to be play that danceable party track on the radio and MTV. It's a winning combination for the music industry and so many rappers today. Today's popular, mainstream rap is a combination of pop music 101 and the idea that you are listening to something you shouldn't be listening to. It's that calculated risk so many psychologists say is essential to living a healthy life and many rappers today thrive off of that element of human psychology. It's the concept that forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest, with the exception that the forbidden fruit is actually as dangerous as a Jolly Rancher.

But much like rock, a look at underground scene and you'll find groups willing to take risks with their lyrics and their sound. So when there is a rap group who signed onto Mike Patton's record label, is huge fans of the Melvins, opens for bands like Isis and Tool and recorded an album with Faust: my interest has been peaked. That group is Dälek (pronounced like the word 'dialect'). At the time of Absence's release, Dälek was made up of MC dälek, producer Oktopus and turntabelist Still.

When describing Dälek's 2nd album, "Absence", the natural reaction would be to describe the album as angry. Oktopus's industrial beehive orchestra and his simple, yet infectious, beats are the avant-garde soundscape that smothers the whole album. Somehow managing to rise above the musical tempest are the rhymes of MC dälek. He spits about the evils of organized religion ('Distorted Prose', 'Opiate the Masses'), the self-whoring of black culture ('Culture for Dollars') and perpetual apathy for social progress in the black community ('Asylum [Permanent Underclass]'). His attacks are complimented by samples from Still, who uses clips of black leaders, professors and civil rights leaders speaking in serious monotones that give MC dälek the ammunition for the next slate of rhymes.

"Absence" is as abrasive an album as you'll ever hear, not only musically but lyrically. MC dälek's casual laid back tone compliment the the musical tempest he's having to rap over. His angry, focused rhymes are tight and rival those of any rapper today. Musically, the album is born from an industrial hell-fire, with some moments on the album downright disturbing and painful to the ear. The opening track, 'Distorted Prose' features such a sound, as MC dälek is interjected by the wails of tortured souls from the depths of hell. But, there are sounds and loops on the album that are unexpected in this album's musical maelstrom. There is the out of tune, organ grinder on crystal meth loop that suffocate the rhymes of 'Eyes to Form Shadows'. The brilliance of Dälek comes from the fact that loops and sounds that have no melodic potential, end up being incredibly melodic... to an ear that's willing to give the album several listenings.

Dälek's "Absence" is a prime example a rap album non-rap fans will like. It's so experimental and daring, it will likely produce the same initial shock to those who love and hate it. Being honest, if you're a fan of Lil' Wayne, Jay Z or NWA: this probably isn't the album you've been waiting for. But, if you have been craving the social messages of Public Enemy or the sounds of Krautrock, industrial, and the avant-garde; this the an album that will make you re-examine any preconceived notions you may have about rap. Or, if you are familiar with underground rap, this album is one of the best the genre has to offer.


9.1/10
-----------------------------------------

1. Distorted Prose
2. Asylum (Permanent Underclass)
3. Culture for Dollars
4. Absence
5. A Beast Caged
6. Koner
7. In Midst of Struggle
8. Eyes to Form Shadows
9. Ever Somber
10. Opiate the Masses

Culture for Dollars


Eyes to Form Shadows

Last edited by Electrophonic Tonic; 08-06-2011 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Added youtube clips and album art, correct release date
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Old 07-01-2011, 09:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Well done! I didn't know Dalek was on Patton's label and all that. Thanks for the info! Interesting read! I already have the albums, I need to check em out...
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I love this album.

Its like noise hip hop, I was totally blown away the first time I heard it.

Seem to have lost my copy though.
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great review, this is one of my absolute favorite hip hop albums and is fast becoming my favorite work out album too.
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Old 07-01-2011, 09:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrd00d View Post
Well done! I didn't know Dalek was on Patton's label and all that. Thanks for the info! Interesting read! I already have the albums, I need to check em out...
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoathsomePete View Post
Great review, this is one of my absolute favorite hip hop albums and is fast becoming my favorite work out album too.
Thanks for the positive reviews... of my review...

I have a few other reviews I wrote a while back for a history of rock and roll class I took. If they're not on the list, I'll touch them up and add them as well. Writing reviews is something I enjoy and I will continue to post them here if you guys enjoy them as well.

The ones I know I have are:
-Fleet Foxes' debut
-In the Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson)
-White Light/White Heat (The Velvet Underground)
-Kick Out the Jams (MC5)

And I'm pretty sure I still have the Franz Ferdinand and Vanilla Fudge debuts....
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Opened for Isis and Tool? Intriiiiiiguiiiiing. I've been hearing a lot about these fellas, i'll have to check them out.
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