Dälek had a nice thing going. The Newark alt-rap crew (MC Dälek raps while Oktopus handles production) backpacked into the hearts and minds of the indie-rock set primarily by teaming up with noisy rock bands. Pairings with the likes of the Melvins and Godflesh made sense sonically, and not just as stabs at postapalooza multiculturalismthe troupe was lauded for its Wall of Sound style so often Phil Spector could’ve sued, but there’s no other way to describe productions dense as poundcake and twice as fattening.
The more things change, the more they change, apparently; Abandoned Language is film noir compared to the group’s previous claustrophobic slapstick, and unfortunately that newfound seriousness isn’t such a good thing. Producer Oktopus’s trademark dissonance is still present, but like a mild Miles Davis passage, now it’s muted and, like all the artwork in the liner notes, unmanageably blurred. Soft buzzing electronic loops accentuate MC Dälek’s flow instead of fighting it for dominance, but that doesnt make this a hip-hop album for purists by any stretch. Instead, Abandoned Language appeals to the newly burgeoning ambient space-rock contingency, which is interesting and all, but if you wind up confounded and miss the blare, you’re not alone.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 20, 2007