Dalek
Absence


3.0
good

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
April 21st, 2013 | 18 replies | 3,793 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


#90: Dälek, Absence (2005)

Dälek’s Absence is a lot of what I don’t like about hip-hop. It finds its sonic roots in industrial music, it is lengthy, and it’s political in the worst way--only vaguely, setting its sight on immense topics like the “permanent underclass” but without any specific contentions or alliances to show for it. It’s one of those “thanks, but no thanks” albums, impressive but simply speaking on a level to which I am not usually attuned. There’s something more interesting about Absence than my casual dismissal, though: it is, like Illmatic (1994) and Endtroducing..... (1996) before it, a completely singular vision of hip-hop. Unlike those two hardened classics, however, Absence was never really picked up on by a larger audience, its aesthetic never mainlined into any circles outside its hyper-specific niche.

This weirdly enough makes the album much easier to appreciate. Were unrelenting tracks like opener “Distorted Prose” (for my money the best one on here) and “A Beast Caged” portents of hip-hop to come, I might find Absence frankly annoying. But as a standalone experiment its strengths are highlighted, its weaknesses muted. Sometimes literally: on the nearly eight-minute beast “In Midst of Struggle,” MC Dälek is positively drowned out by a monstrous beat, and I get the sense it’s better that way. He peddles a very particular type of “intellectual” rap that at the very least is not as eye-rollingly preachy or awkward as others of its type, but still: this is rap music about Reaganomics and Gnostics in equal measure, and for whatever self-hating reason, that’s that shit I don’t like.

At the very least, MC Dälek, never the most engaging or likable frontman, seems to recognize that anger--whether political or personal--is not a phenomenon of merely the intellect but is something felt all around. “Mad at everything” may be his only mode here, but it’s employed convincingly, the drums cracking with fury, feedback billowing like puffs of smoke in a post-apocalyptic atmosphere. Absence’s anger is so wide-lensed, so all-encompassing that it can serve as a sort of musical template for any given bad mood. Again: as an ongoing musical trend, this kind of approach might grate. As a standalone release, however, the album is a success, albeit an unusually narrow one, tapping repeatedly into its single creative vein and sucking it violently of its resources. For these 57 cacophonous, iconoclastic, and more than anything loud minutes, that singular aim is enough.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2013



14986 Comments


lol it feels weird having these reviews appear on the staff page, all judged and shit

please tell me errors and i will try not to be a jerk about them

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2013



4507 Comments


surprised you don't like this more, but toeachizown

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2013



14986 Comments


well i wouldnt say i dont like it

i certainly dont love it

TheMoonchild
April 21st 2013



444 Comments


WHY HAVE THE DAAAAAALEKS ALLOWED TO FORM A BAND

EXPLAAAAAIN, EXPLAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

Karstein
April 21st 2013



24 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hum... Well, not a good review from you for this time Alex...

oltnabrick
April 21st 2013



30133 Comments


guh


Digging: Wretched Excess - Away From This World

liledman
April 21st 2013



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dalek does the political/social stuff way better than most people. He isn't that much of an engaging personality like some others, but I think that it's balanced by the idiosyncratic production style. I think he does a fucking awesome job on his albums to hold it down without guest spots or any other MCs in the group.

And the beats are so damn good.

liledman
April 21st 2013



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Plus he isn't all conspiracy theory crazy.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
April 21st 2013



4940 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think it's hard to get into, but these guys paved the way for noise rap, especially with the record after this which i think i enjoy better

HenchmanOfSanta
April 21st 2013



1852 Comments


Where is this list of 100 hip-hop albums from?

Gyromania
April 21st 2013



15199 Comments


i like most things dalek, negro necro nekros being one of my favourites.

YankeeDudel
April 22nd 2013



9305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

love the dalek

Digging: DJ Spooky - Songs Of A Dead Dreamer

kingsoby1
Emeritus
April 22nd 2013



4940 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

henchman, this was alist from RYM from a month ago of the overall hiphop rankings

DrHouseSchuldiner
April 22nd 2013



5643 Comments


Great shit!

gbowles
April 23rd 2013



70 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what you don't like about hiphop are actually the cooler parts of hiphop

Havey
April 24th 2013



9617 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^

Digging: Cecil Taylor - Dark to Themselves

oltnabrick
April 24th 2013



30133 Comments


Maybe



CaptainDooRight
March 18th 2014



28332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

eellee

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones



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