Dälek - Corsica Studios, London
There is little these days that is truly unique in music, but few get quite as close to that accolade as Dälek. Their blend of hip-hop, post-rock and drone is certainly from left field; this however is no messy pool of a few influences their creators thought were "cool", the music innovates, challenges and has a few things to say about the world. New album Asphalt For Eden is a much-needed railing against all that is wrong today (a seemingly endless list growing fast…), as well as a welcome return for an outfit that crosses bridges few can, at least successfully.
In support we have local boys Necro Deathmort and their own their own mix of swirling electronica, earthquake-inducing beats and reverb-drenched distorted guitars. Shifting from tone-driven ambience to pulsating dance, it is a surprisingly varied set that is engaging and rather enjoyable. Wreathed in darkness and hidden behind an impressive array of synths and desks, the bass-driven rumble both liquidises the innards and relaxes the brain.
Tonight, squeezed as we are into the small Corsica Studios underneath Elephant & Castle station, Dälek are powerful. Will Brooks is a dynamo holding court at the front of the stage, effortless building a rapport with the crowd between tracks; during them he delivers a faultless oratory that has such beguiling and perfect rhythm. Sounding even clearer due to faulty effects pedals, his impact is greater as the rhymes dart off his tongue. Behind the MC, DJ rEk and Mike Manteca work in tandem to build such a dense wall of sound. Combining devastating waves of electronica and noise with carefully deployed samples and scratching, the chemistry between the trio is electric.
The hour-long set is built largely around the new record with all but one of the tracks recited here. What does become apparent is the shift from raw, dark bile that characterised their early work to the more measured, intellectual and balanced approach both musically and lyrically Dälek have taken this time around. This is music with a message, a fully-formed and comprehensive argument delivered with a style and panache that many rappers could learn a lot from. Welcome to the new Eden.