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Review: Asphalt for Eden by dälek May 6, 2016

Posted by sjroby in Uncategorized.
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asphaltdälek returns after a hiatus of several years with some lineup changes. That could be cause for alarm, not least because they developed and refined a unique noise/hiphop sound over the course of their past albums. Would they lose what made them work? Or, conversely, would they try too hard to recapture that sound and end up just imitating past glories?

Turns out there was no need for concern. The elevator pitch description of their sound — Public Enemy meets My Bloody Valentine — still fits. You’ve got swirling layers of noise and texture, plenty of bass pressure, and MC dälek rapping over it all.

So far, so familiar. But it still manages to feel like a progression because there are more melodic touches in the music. At times it’s reminiscent of some of the ambient dub and shoegazer dub experiments bands like Scorn, Bowery Electric, and Seefeel ventured into in the ’90s.

At the same time, the vocals have been moved up in the mix. The rapping sometimes got almost lost in the noise squalls on past albums. During the hiatus, Will Brooks dropped the dälek name and released some old school hiphop albums as IconAclass (well worth checking out in their own right). Brooks has a lot to say, and maybe the IconAclass albums reminded him of the importance of letting people actually hear his words.

Asphalt for Eden sounds fresh and reinvigorated, not that they ever lacked for vigor, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome, with seven tracks in under 40 minutes. Often a band who’ve produced some classic music come back after a break with something that’s perfectly respectable and solid and after a few listens you forget about it and go back to the old stuff. That won’t happen with this one. It’s as vital as anything else they’ve done. I just hope it’s not long before the next album.