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Dälek: Gutter Tactics (2009) February 16, 2009

Posted by sjroby in Music.
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Gutter Tactics

dälek: Gutter Tactics

First things first: it’s pronounced dialect and it has nothing to do with Doctor Who.

If I described the Dälek sound as something like a mix of Scorn, My Bloody Valentine, and Public Enemy, there are people who’d get a good sense of what it’s like. Somewhere.

Let’s just say that Dälek is a mix of heavy beats, layers of noise, and someone rapping over the top of it, sometimes like someone trying to be heard through a squall of noise. It’s a confrontational album lyrically, too. The first track, “Blessed Are They Who Bash Your Children’s Heads Against A Rock,” doesn’t feature the rapper Dälek; the words are from one of the controversial speeches by Jeremiah Wright condemning what he describes as American terrorism. The music and beat are more subdued than usual for a Dälek track, never drowning out Wright’s words.

It’s often difficult to make out what Dälek is rapping over Oktopus’s backing tracks, and that continues here. Gutter Tactics is not a major stylistic departure from predecessors like Absence and Abandoned Language (though it lacks anything like the dissonant, nightmarish instrumental “Lynch” from the latter). The harsh and abrasive sound is guaranteed to keep it off mainstream radio stations; it’s as likely to appeal to fans of extreme metal and other noisy musical forms as it is to fans of hiphop.

This is intense, intelligent, richly textured, powerful music, and there’s nothing else quite like it — except for some of Dälek’s earlier albums. And they have more variety to offer than you might think, especially on their rarities compilation Deadverse Massive Volume One and their collaboration with experimental German band Faust, Derbe Respect, Alder. If you’ve ever wanted to hear a cross between hiphop and avant garde rock that goes a lot farther than Chuck D muttering on Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing,” this is where to go.

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