Dälek Deadverse Massive Vol. 1: Dälek Rarities 1999-2006

[Hydra Head; 2007]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: hip-hop, industrial, noise
Others: Cannibal Ox, Kid606, El-P, My Bloody Valentine

Dälek don’t make the kind of music you’ll hear anytime soon at your local ladies’ night, yet they manifest many of the same hip-hop traits as your favorite bumpers and grinders do. MC Dälek, for example, is exceptionally narcissistic — “I tremble at the thought of what I’ve become”, he growls at the beginning of “Ruin It, Ruin Them, Ruin Yourself, Then Ruin Me (Deadverse Remix)” — and seems to thrive on a cycle of purging and re-digesting his malignant ideas, sort of like a prisoner in solitary confinement venting through his diary and subsequently poring over its pages because that’s all he’s got to do. What frequently saves Dälek’s music from wandering off into backpackers’ no-man’s-land, though, is producer Oktopus’s ability to locate MC Dälek’s oft-pedantic rhyme schemes within a broader sonic universe. Full of instrumentals and remixes, Deadverse Massive Vol. 1 provides a great showcase for a producer’s expansive vision largely unencumbered by his emcee’s provincialism.

That’s not to say MC Dälek doesn’t at least throw a bone to the brooding neo-Marxist in all of us. “You call me vulgar, but I’m just a shadow of society/ Not your commodity,” he muses deep in the mix amid flurries of scratching on “Megaton (Deadverse Remix).” The track is propelled by robust drum loops and dense layers of samples, an infectious pattern repeated on “Back to Burn.” Oktopus is equally adept at manipulating varying vocal styles, whether aping Massive Attack on “Rouge” or Liquid Swords-era RZA on “Maintain.” The requisite filler is here too, such as a 16-minute slow-burner (“Music for ASM”) that sounds like the score to a botched television pilot of Blade Runner. But a little failed experimentation from an adventurous producer can be forgiven, especially when he’s got an emcee so ready and willing to bring him back down to Earth.

1. Megaton (Deadverse Remix)
2. Angst
3. Ruin It, Ruin Them, Ruin Yourself, Then Ruin Me (Deadverse Remix)
4. Vague Recollection
5. Desolate Peasants
6. Rouge (Deadverse Remix)
7. 3:46
8. In This City (Deadverse Remix)
9. Music for ASM
10. Streets All Amped
11. Ascention
12. Maintain
13. Back to Burn

Most Read