Dalek
Asphalt For Eden


3.5
great

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
April 22nd, 2016 | 69 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sunrise, sunset, change seasons.

Dälek’s music has been accused of being political only in the vaguest sense, which implies that a connotation of politics requires explicit followthrough for validation; but, if anything, the industrial hip-hop group’s music is indicative of grounded frustration. In a 2005 interview with Morphizm, MC Dälek (Will Brooks) denounced any suggestion that America has progressed in terms of racial acceptance, at least beneath surface level. The interview was impassioned and whatnot, but one particular line stands out at this moment: “We made ourselves heard and felt, as the downtrodden always do.” In some way, perhaps purposefully, perhaps not, Dälek’s music mimics this group consciousness, as a thousand only-sorta-intelligible voices cause a stir that is emoted as well, if not better, than articulated. Asphalt for Eden, like previous work, is both a systemic rally cry and an alley-dwelling lament, with multilayered dissidence. The political undertones can be a bit elusive, but it’s an accurate reflection of Brooks’ MO; in the aforementioned interview, the rapper stated a refusal for agenda pushing, and would rather incite the process of thought than a specific line of such. Arriving over ten years since, Asphalt for Eden is admittedly questioning, rarely answering.

With nods to controversial topics like the Black Lives Matter movement, Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, the Michael Brown shooting, etc, Asphalt for Eden establishes itself as socially ingrained and conscious, but never hasty. Sometimes, these subtopics fade into the backdrop of what is a patient, atmospheric album. Perhaps one of the album’s greatest statements is the instrumental cut, “6dB”. The track feels like watching a mass exodus down a desert highway from a bird’s-eye view. On “6dB”, you get a sense that the greatest mode of progress is achieved wordlessly and collectively. It’s both a contrast to 2007’s Abandoned Language and 2009’s Gutter Tactics, the former being an example of Dälek evoking less in production and more in lyricism, the latter being more overpowering in heavy-metal and industrial influence. DJ rEk and Mike Swarmbots take turntable and productions duties, rEk being a vital component in Dälek’s early years, Mike being a prior collaborator. Will Brooks’ persona has always been balanced with equally-communicative sounds (with the slight exception of Abandoned Language, but, hey), and Asphalt for Eden succeeds by maintaining this, despite the absence of longtime producer Alap “Oktopus” Momin.

While some of the political motifs tend to be swept up in the sonic undertow, there are moments of blunt, relatable vexation amidst more complex ideologies. On “Masked Laughter (Nothing’s Left)”, an Aldous Huxley speech sample includes prophetic statements of cultural revolutions’ abilities to affect an individual indirectly via their surrounding environment, and subsequently using persuasion to sway people to accept the gradual changes; MC Dälek’s responses include lines like, “I don’t need a fuckin anthem, I need change / not the shit that jingles but them laws scribed to page,” a line that, although a bit clumsy, corresponds physically with the song’s themes of suffocation, and, lyrically, with a desire for concrete change rather than band-aid solutions. Closer “It Just Is” sees Dälek at both their most serene and their most helpless, with an apathetic condemnation. The refrain, “it ain’t gonna be alright-right-right […] it just is,” is hazy and lethargic, and one of the powerful moments on an album full of dystopian allusions. Ultimately, regardless of how invested you choose to be in the sentiments of pessimism and dejection, Asphalt for Eden is thoughtful and eclectic, blending elements of shoegaze, industrial, boom-bap, and ambience both sedative and rousing. All the while, it balances a grim, overarching societal direction with a thwarted attitude. Much like the early industrial music from which they draw influence, Dälek have always sounded best nestled between transcendence and self-conflict.




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user ratings (84)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


6676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

stream/purchase https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/asphalt-for-eden

that Morphizm interview: http://www.morphizm.com/recommends/interviews/dalek05.html

that Aldous Huxley thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7moyrzpmWI



thanks Profound Lore for the advance copy. gonna be busy today, but C&C is welcome and i'll try to pop in to address any missed typos and w/e

jtswope
April 22nd 2016


5788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review dude. Your closing sentences really sum them up well.



Control and It Just Is are ace.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


6676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thx man, though i'm hardly the first to say it. i think i read someone describe their debut album kinda similarly, pointing out the association. can't remember where i saw that though

PostMesmeric
April 22nd 2016


734 Comments


God, this album blew me away. Loved the hell out of it.

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


2993 Comments


One of your best reviews man

Excellent work

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

LotusFlower
April 22nd 2016


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

something bout the production speaks to me

CrimsonLies
April 22nd 2016


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I need more music like this

Gyromania
April 22nd 2016


25913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

masterful writing here



cannot wait to hear this

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


23854 Comments


cool review, i'll give this a whirl even tho it's outside my area of interest

Digging: Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel

Relinquished
April 22nd 2016


38405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea dude you get this group's sound, great review.

Gyromania
April 22nd 2016


25913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

these guys very rarely disappoint. been going through their discog again today and it's all really damn good

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


6676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thx @ erryone



yeah i've always found them consistently good if not great. after Momin departing i was worried the production would suffer but nah it's on par with some of their best

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 22nd 2016


39729 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

proud of you 'tristan'

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


6676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thx, uh.. "dePot"



: s

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 22nd 2016


39729 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

suddenly i understand what its like to be a father



"im proud of you son"



"fuck you dad u lil fuckin bitch"

Relinquished
April 22nd 2016


38405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what about Abandoned Language don't u dig?

BigBalls
April 22nd 2016


104 Comments


Sweet.

Gyromania
April 22nd 2016


25913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think absence and negro are my faves

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


6676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@relinq - it's still good but i thought it was a case where the MC took more precedence over the production (well, more than usual). i don't dislike it at all, but there's a certain magic that's different than what i normally enjoy about dalek is all. the production wasn't quite as communicative IMO as dalek usually are capable of, as a lot of their work sees the MC and the atmosphere sorta go back and forth a bit more. idk

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 22nd 2016


39729 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3.7 is just such an ugly integer u should probably 3.8 this



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