Album Reviews: dälek ‘Endangered Philosophies’

dälek’s surreal infusion of abstract genres is nothing new for the group. The brooding ambiance and sinister backtracks often serve as recycled architecture for Endangered Philosophies. But the creative aura of their music manifests through abrasive static, metallic sound effects, and the occasional brightness of conventional instrumentation.



Genre: Experimental hip hop
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Number of Tracks: 11
Label: Ipecac Recordings
Rating:

Purchase: MP3 / CD / Vinyl 


What started as a duo emerging from New Jersey’s DIY scene of the 90’s, MC dälek and Oktpus foresaw a radical soundscape long before experimental hip-hop was concept. From 1998’s Negro Necro Nekros on, the duo pioneered a juxtaposition of swirling undertones, clanky beats and free flowing rhymes; the template for which Death GripsShabazz Palaces and Danny Brown would later build on. After a four year hiatus that started in 2011, dälek have returned as a trio with MC dälek merging with DJ rEK and longtime collaborator Mike Manteca. Following 2016’s Asphalt for EdenEndangered Philosophies marks the second album to feature the newly formed lineup.

MC dälek doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to calling out the racist right-wing. On the lead single and album opener, “Echoes Of…,” he boldly shouts “Respond to pressure / Viewed by most as lesser / Don’t come with fake tears when you chose to play aggressor” over rumbling synthesizers and crunchy drum-beats. Continuing through the track dälek pays tribute to icons of black culture and activism such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Fred Hampton. Similarly, “Son Of An Immigrant” is an outcry against the anti-immigration policies set forth by the Trump administration. The song is propelled by an earth shaking bass track looped in repetition, steering the drums and brash lyrics. MC dälek reiterates “I’m your worst nightmare / Born and educated here,” a message that could send a shockwave through the nationalist establishment.

dälek’s surreal infusion of abstract genres is nothing new for the group. The brooding ambiance and sinister backtracks often serve as recycled architecture for Endangered Philosophies. But the creative aura of their music manifests through abrasive static, metallic sound effects, and the occasional brightness of conventional instrumentation. dälek’s unusual wall of sound is enhanced with the subtlety of colorful overtones on “Weapons,” “Few Understand” and “Sacrifice.” But the trio delves further into unhinged territory on the off-beat “Battlecries” and ultra-noisy “Numb.” In context, dälek’s lyrics and music have always embodied street-art forte. And Endangered Philosophies couldn’t have come at a better time. This album will surely terrify the ignorant simpletons who don’t “get it.” The more, the merrier.


Stream some tracks off Endangered Philosophies below:




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