06 May 2022 - Thorsten
Abstract HipHop, Ambient | Ipecac Records | Release date: 29 Apr 2022
Okay, this is a first for us here at Veil of Sound. Our first review of a HipHop record. (Hint: there will be a bit more HipHop content the next few weeks) Not that we do not like raps‘n‘beats but there just has not been a record any of us felt like reviewing. However, now that the one of the initial acts of abstract rap has published a new record we cannot ignore it, but have to give you our two-cents on it. That act is Dälek and their new record is called Precipice!.
Let’s start with a little flashback: Summer of `05, I was shortly before the end of my studies and becoming a teacher and it was a hot summer day, when a friend of mine and me attended a tour package that would turn out my favorite of all time – Isis was the headliner, Jesu was the opener and in between was a band I had only randomly given a listen, Dälek. That evening changed my perspective on HipHop because this was different. It was like a mix of The Jesus Lizard, Jesu and KRS-One, the music was abstract less pumping more demanding attention, less dancing, more nodding, less guns’n’cars’n’b…. more consciousness. Loved it, been a fan ever since.
Why? Because of two things: The music is not your average beat plus a cool sample and that’s it. Sometimes one can hear clear beats setting the shuffling tone for a track like ”Hollistic” when the snare and kick are the first thing before the textures are added and we get this slightly itchy and scratchy mid-tempo track that features many layers, like the hall-effects over MC Dälek’s vocals or the second texture which sounds a bit like distorted bells underneath the fog. Something that needs to be said is many songs are mid-tempo tracks, which is a little difference to the last full-length, Endangered Philosophies. The record also offers some even lighter tones, like the sunny opening to ”Good”, which might even be used on a summer sampler. Great is also the simple, clever arrangement of the most famous guest feature on this record: Adam Jones (Tool) kicks off ”A Heretic’s Inheritance” with a nearly shy guitar line that also shows his signature sound, it’s just clearly Jones. But Dälek do not place it in the spotlight but keep it going and then add some screeching samples, slowly punching beats, some industrial textures and of course, MC Dälek’s great lyrics. The track is really another gem in the band’s discography – and not because of Jones’ guitar.
The second reason is the lyrical delivery by MC Dälek. The world is basically falling of the precipice that they have created, the only choice we have it basically to support or to boycott. Support each other in our need to be the best human being we can possibly be, because we need each other to get through this, to not fall off the cliff. On the other hand people are so divided as he shows in lines like ”All You had to do was listen / Nah, you rather force religion” (“Decimation (Dis Nation)”) or ”So complex to identify as American / Half saying it’s better when / Other half’s attacked by shepherds” (“A Heretic’s Inheritance”). Therefore the only real alternative is to boycott the system as Dälek spits ”Boycott the whole lot! / The structure, the whole spot / The vultures, the cold cops / Taking what our souls got / Boycott the whole lot!” (“Boycott”). Whichever way one takes is, of course, up to him, nevertheless it is clear where MC Dälek stands – in the middle with a very critical mind, a very negative world view. But who can blame him?
One thing is clear: Precipice can definitely hold its place against all the other great tracks and records the project has already released. This project led by MC Dälek can simply not do anything wrong! As long as we get acts like this, we are going to keep on talkin’ ‘bout HipHop on VoS!