Dälek is a band I ignored for too long. I saw them live at the suggestion of a friend and they blew me away, but I didn’t buy one of their records. I heard songs here and there that I liked on mix tapes, but I didn’t bother to find out where they came from, and then I read all about Gutter Tactics and how great it is and I just kept on ignoring them anyways.
But I’ve been listening to rap more closely lately, and one of the first groups I looked to for good stuff was Dälek. I borrowed a copy of From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots and was instantly won over. Besides the fact that the entire record is an awesome blend of rap, jazz, noise, ambient music, and other unexpected ingredients, “Forever Close My Eyes” is easily one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long while from any band in any genre. I haven’t listened to their other records quite as much as this one, but From Filthy Tongue generally sounds more varied and less claustrophobic than the rest of their discography, which could be a good or bad depending on what you’re looking for. If Gutter Tactics is all grime and blood and unhinged fury, then From Filthy Tongue is its less pessimistic brother, who is more focused on and in love with psychedelic rock and spaced-out ambience. It fits in really nicely with all the electronic stuff I’ve been playing lately. In fact, Dälek would probably fit better on a bill with Autechre or Venetian Snares than they would with El-P or Madlib. Their choice of collaborators emphasizes this point. They’ve worked with people as diverse as Kid 606 and Faust and they’ve played live with groups like Scorn and Young Widows. Someone somewhere has called them kraut-rap. If one wanted to describe them with genre labels, I guess that would be just as accurate as any other, but adding tags like “jazz” and “noise” and maybe “shoegaze” wouldn’t hurt. Just further proof genres don’t matter or describe anything very well anyways. The point is, they sound heavy and strong and have a totally unequivocal approach to their art. “Forever Close My Eyes” is featured in this week’s broadcast, but if you want to check it out without listening to the whole thing, you can hear it right here:
And you can check out an interview with Dälek over at Brainwashed. It’s a 19-minute video with concert footage and discussion about rap, commercialism, entertainment, the band’s name and influences, their approach to writing music, politics, collaborations, and other sundry things. Definitely worth checking out.
Quite a lot of electronic stuff on this show, too: started off with Meat Beat Manifesto, Manitoba/Caribou, and M83 and ended up playing some Autechre, Arovane, Telefon Tel Aviv, and other similar bands, too. A few people asked about Arovane, but there really isn’t a lot to tell. It’s the work of a guy named Uwe Zahn. He recorded four albums under the Arovane moniker, released a few 12″ records, popped up on some comps and remix projects, and then disappeared after 2004. His stuff reminds me a bit of Autechre, which is probably why I bought his records in the first place. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything but Atol Scrap (I don’t think I have anything else of his in my collection), but I remember not liking his other stuff as much. I guess he tended towards ambient stuff a lot more on his other records. Check out this song:
After listening to that I’m inclined to think I was wrong about nothing being as good as Atol Scrap.
I’ll be broadcasting two shows next week. One at my regular time (Tuesdays, 10AM – noon EST) and one as a substitute on Wednesday afternoon from 1pm until 3pm EST. Hope you’ll tune in!
01. Meat Beat Manifesto “Sound Innovation / Nuclear Bomb” from Subliminal Sandwich (1996) on Play It Again Sam
02. Manitoba “Hendrix with KO” from Up In Flames (2003) on Leaf
03. M83 “Moon Child” from Before the Dawn Heals Us (2004) on Mute / Gooom
04. Jaga Jazzist “Prognissekongen” from One-Armed Bandit (2010) on Ninja Tune
05. Tone “Fate” from Sustain (1996) on Independent Project / Dishcord
06. Sun City Girls “Space Prophet Dogon” from Torch of The Mystics (1990) on Majora
07. Pan Sonic “Virtamuuntaja / Current-Transformer” from Kesto (234.48:4) (2004) on Mute
08. Boards of Canada “In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country” from In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country (2000) on Warp
09. Telefon Tel Aviv “TTV” from Farenheit Fair Enough (2001) on Hefty
10. Arovane “Tascel_7” from Atol Scrap (2000) on Din
11. Autechre “Corc” from LP5 (1998) on Warp
12. Jack Rose “Blues For Percy Danforth” from Luck in the Valley (2010) on Thrill Jockey
13. Laura Gibson and Ethan Rose “Introduction” from Bridge Carols (2010) on Spectre Music
14. Jason Molina “Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go” from Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go (2006) on Secretly Canadian
15. Cranes “Adrift” from Forever (1993) on Dedicated
16. Einstürzende Neubauten “Zampano” from Silence is Sexy (2000) on Mute
17. Dälek “Forever Close My Eyes” from From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots (2002) on Ipecac
18. Odd Nosdam “Don’t Come Down Here (Blasted Remix)” from Pretty Swell Explode (2008) on Anticon — original by Serena-Maneesh
19. Wire “The Agfers of Kodack” from Send (2003) on Pink Flag
20. Emeralds “Geode” from Emeralds (2009) on Wagon/Gneiss Things