Dälek “Untitled” Latitudes

New Jersey’s Dälek consists of two of the most forward thinking hip hop artists out right now with MC Dälek and The Oktopus on production. With a musical paintbrush that extends into unseen regions, Dälek have become one of the truest extensions into the framework and body of hip hop. Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings signed Dälek in the turn of the century and has been responsible for a majority of the groups full length albums. The group’s latest project however, comes with the Southern Lord sublabel Latitudes, an imprint who specializes in limited edition session recordings housed at their Southern Studios.

Untitled is Dälek’s latest effort and comes in the name of one long prolonged 43:54 minute long and highly experimental voyage into found sounds, dark seeded overgrowth, caverns of poetic complexity and a constant flow of processed fluctuation in patterns. Untitled is the groups most abstract to date and pushes their exploratory achievements to new heights. One moment the mix is highly textured and floating about, feeling lost in directions that all go different directions at the same time. The next moment is full of grimy, shattering bass and rustic drum work that pushes the lo-fi overtones to the front of the mix. Regardless of the fluctuations, tt’s a completely connected ride from beginning to end. Recorded in July of 2005, Untitled didn’t see an official release until the CD version on Latitudes in 2010. The vinyl version was released last year and is a record we are finally getting to and it’s one that I am shamefully apologetic I did not earlier. The mind shifting imagery of abstract, powerful and meditative lo-fi hip hop groups such as cLOUDDEAD, Latryx and Hieroglyphics is felt in full with Dälek’s Latitudes session as each moment becomes a true sonic aura of significance into the heart of the drum, the flowing dark passages of melody and the ghost like traces of scattered vocals.

The album travels in a series of movements that all identify on a very different level than any other section. The beginning of the record rises like that of the sun and is droned out in ambient resonance and small interjected sounds. MC Dälek moves through his corridor of word play as shifting tones becomes crossed all over the mix, streaming into one another as processed layering of a backing vocal effect brings the lyrical presence into a mechanical state. Acoustic guitar becomes the guiding positioning point as a rising layer of synth involves itself to the back side of it all. The glitching presence of this backing vocal track is just one example of how detailed and highly crafted this album is as the climax takes a season to unfold in this psychedelic terrain. Vocals fold inside of themselves as the poetic passage cuts away to an even more processed and experimental deviance. Rippling guitar chords, chaotic drum programming and an over saturated lo-fi mix make for the next section to be a very abrasive collecting point into what the album dives towards on many occasions. Fall outs and snap backs make the music dynamically minded with the resonating swirling traces of tones that bridge all of these sudden changes in sonic depth. Around the twenty minute mark, Dälek pushes their sound to an even more doom filled state, with a cycling groove that pushes the session into a suspended state. No longer is it grounded and diving down but now the voyage is moving cohesively in the same direction. Effects drenched guitar lines parade itself across the mix, soaring off of the raw drum tracks and the return of MC Dälek’s presence. This is b-boy psych doom, a documentation into the bliss anecdote of a twisted and gifted arrangement of melody and rhythms. Another fall out section ensues and the climaxes become stronger and stronger.

Nothing is sparred and no moment is less than jaw dropping with Untitled, a standard in the Dälek legacy that has never left the group and only becomes more intensely saturated into euphoria with further releases. Untitled is an album that has become a very important chapter with the ongoing saga of experimentalism and defines a heavy, mystic purpose needed in this shifting age of modern hip hop. Recorded half a decade ago, it’s still very far ahead of its time.

-Erik Otis


  1. Untitled

Order the Limited Edition Vinyl (300 Purple, 700 Black) from Southern Lord

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