Before Public Enemy moved into the realms of action figures and VH1, they were cutting-edge for two primary reasons: subversive, political lyrics and edgy, envelope-pushing beats. In more recent years, Def Jux's artists had been doing the same thing, but they seem more interested in collaborations now. Beat patriarch DJ Shadow has clearly jumped the shark too. Which brings us to Jersey City duo Dälek, who doesn't have action figures, nor aspirations of "wack" collabs, but does bring the noise, in a very abstract form (even more so than usual "underground" hip-hop). Abandoned Language starts off with an ambitious, 10-minute cut that takes you through various dark moods, setting one up for a quite challenging album. There's blips and boops, and Entroducing-style beats; oftentimes cuts are augmented by live saxophones and various other wind instruments. Like the title suggests, their vocals aren't exactly clear. Themes of bleakness and loss of power run rampant, and this all probably ties into a not-so-subtle point about the state of "society" and how we're all doomed, or things really suck (however vague that is). Dälek has always been like this, and Abandoned Language sees them pushing themselves (and maybe even the genre) into directions that are rarely taken, either past or present. As with most genre defiers, Dälek might be relegated to the margins for years to come, but this discsuggests they'll be OK with that.


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