Dalek: Gutter Tactics
Drone merged with rhythm. For me, this is a perfect marriage. In theory, anyway. A few years back I picked up Dalek’s album Abscence based on the fact it was released by Mike Patton’s Ipecac label and that it promised to conjure the doom of Black Sabbath riffing with head nodding beats. And it did that, but after a few listens I lost interest. The tracks on Absence began to sound the same, and MC Dalek’s rhymes were too ‘hip-hop’ for the mood of the samples.
However, I’d heard good things about Gutter Tactics, enough that I decided to test it out and goddamn I’m glad I did.
Absence bored me because the tracks tended to revolve around a single sample, but the offerings on Gutter Tactics are more concise and producer Oktopus sculpts his sound scapes into different forms throughout. Fluttering keys, xylophone samples and jagged synths break things up nicely and MC Dalek’s vocals fit into the wash rather than distracting from the beautiful noise.
The rhymes are still Public Enemy styled rants against capitalism, racism and government agencies, but overall Dalek don’t sound as angry as they once did which works so much better within the shoe-gazing nature of their sound. Gutter Tactics is a fucking awesome record, and so unlike any other ‘alternative’ hip-hop you’ve heard before. It has mood and atmosphere, something that’s often missing from vocal hip-hop in my opinion. Imagine a Sonic Youth freak-out mating with DJ Shadow circa Entroducing – are you creaming yet?