Dälek - Gutter Tactics
Imogen Decordova 13/12/2008
New Jersey duo Dälek mix, and slice up the finest beats using a cut, copy, sample and paste ethic which sees them lean towards the more experimental side of hip hop.
After recently purchasing From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots I was ecstatic to see this release land on my door mat. I don't think I've ever been so excited to review a CD, it's certainly the season for Ipecac at the moment, a label which I've held close to my heart for the past 4 years.
Combining noise, drone and heavy rock influences by artists as diverse as shoegazers My Bloody Valentine and kraut rockers Faust, Dälek are often considered avant garde hip hop, a term which the duo deplore considering themselves 'hip-hop, in the purest sense.'
The dark ambience of Gutter Tactics consumes you with each listen, although not too dissimilar from the duo's earlier releases, the new record has an intensity and heaviness that has seen it compared to the work of Black Sabbath and label mates Melvins. Atypical Stereotype has a raw bass line heavy enough to melt your bones (no I'm not sure that's possible either…). Certainly worthy of the album's title, the gritty feedback and distortion on the record contribute a density that doesn't exist on From Filthy Tongue…
One standout track and album opener Blessed Are They Who Bash Your Children's Heads Against A Rock takes it's name and sampling from a controversial speech made by Reverend Jeremiah Wright and reminded me of a similarly styled Stokely Carmichael excerpt used by Blackalicious on the track Cliffhanger.
The beautiful sonic brilliance of Dälek is proof of the evolutionary force of hip hop, having been active for the best part of the last decade the likes of Saul Williams, Blackalicious and Dälek by are no means part of a new skool but these are the sort of musical educators mainstream hip hop could do with taking a few notes from.