[Big Dada; 05/24/2011]
DELS' Gob Ain't Your Grandaddy's Hip Hop
After hearing all of DELS’ debut LP Gob, you’ll promptly want to do some relaxing activity, like yoga, or massage, or high tea. Your shoulders will become involuntarily tense. Your head will hurt as you try to grasp the chaotic dissonance. Your eyes will strain as you try to comprehend the onomatopoeia song titles like “Trumpalump,” “Droogs,” and “Hydronenberg.”
In short, DELS doesn’t make it easy.
After months of covering pro hip hop beatmaking and traditional hip hop separately, it’s exciting to hear both of them together, and on equal footing. For once, steady flow over a 90s style beat isn’t in the cards. DELS instead delivers grating, arhythmic lyrics about child abuse, emotional turmoil, and homelessness , matched by relentless electronic beatmaking extremes.
The new UK rapper DELS — or Kieren Dickins — raps over production by the incomparable Kwes (Young Turks, the xx) and Micachu (Micachu & The Shapes). Guests like Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and UK rapper Roots Manuva make some not-so-subtle appearances. Cutting 8bit, uneven stutters, glitch, angry distortion, and synth onslaughts mark almost every track, with the exception of the more soulful, but still uniquely creepy “DLR.”
If there was any comparison, it might be Jay-Z, evidenced by his vocal register and the epic climax on the title track “Gob.” But this is Jay-Z with roid rage. Jay-Z squared. Jay-Z.5.
To give you a taste, see if you can handle the video for the 8bitty “Shapeshift,” feat. Joe Goddard. The track may have a more traditional beat compared to the rest of the album, but the song is far from top 40 fare. The video features over a million DELSes, symbolizing his quest to shift the shape of hip hop. Even for this jaded writer, he’s succeeding.
[Big Dada; May 24 2011]
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