Dälek have the ability to produce an album that's so distinctively different from anything that have done before and yet still sounds characteristically like a Dälek album. As soon as you hear a song by this group, you know it's them. Not only have they consistently been able to do this album after album, but while doing so the quality of the music has never slipped. Their new album is a masterpiece of avant-garde hip hop, and of alternative music in general.
Dälek are a hip-hop group from Newark, NJ, but they sound like no one else. Their music is dark, noisy and atmospheric, equally inspired as much by industrial music like Einsterzende Neubauten, the layered noise of My Bloody Valentine and the dense sound collages of Public Enemy.
2005's Absence was not exactly what you would call easy listening; it was filled with abrasive and noisy beats, thought provoking lyrics and a densely layered production. Despite this, the album had a crushingly hypnotic effect, which has been carried on with Abandoned Language stunningly. In fact, it could be seen as the ying to Absence's yang in regards to the atmosphere and mood of the album. Abandoned Language is a whole different beast; it's a densely layered soundscape of warped strings, eerie distortion, and mesmeric beats, all intricately woven together. Most of the time it's like listening to a daydream with waves of beautiful distortion crushing you into a trance like state.
The title track and album opener, which clocks in at over ten minutes, is a perfect example of the album as a whole, as well as being one of its many highlights. In the opening minutes we are greeted by calm, laid back music which is contrasted to MC Dälek's vocals and lyrics, the music then hints that it may be building up to something which at about the six minute mark then rings true. A dazzling and thickly layered section increases until it's almost overwhelming, then at the eight minute mark, it drops off and goes into a beautiful, mellow segment that makes me feel like I'm floating underwater on clouds of sand while a few beams of sunlight dance around the surface. This part slowly fades away as the song ends, its ten-minute length seeming to flash by in less then half that time.
Every song on this album delivers something special. Whether it be "Isolated State"s instrumental first half, with its wispy dark melodies and majestic effect laden strings, or "Subversive Scripts" with its gorgeously noisy, apocalyptic conclusion, "Tarnished" with its superb laid back beat or "Corrupt (Knuckle Up)"s fantastic hook, the album features many different ideas and pulls them all off astonishingly well.
This album is not typical in anyway, its hip hop, but it has large instrumental passages - even one entirety instrumental track - and the vocals are lower in the mix than in other hip hop, instead of hitting you straight away they wash over you after a few listens, which seems to add to there impact. This is an album that will require a few listens. There are so many different elements to the music that you will never get it all in one spin. Dälek, with Abandoned Language, have released a stunning, noisy, dark, hypnotic behemoth of an album, and one that will almost certainly be in my top ten releases of 2007.
9.4 / 10
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