Newark, NJ's Dälek undermine the simplistic gloss of mainstream hip-hop with gritty, complex underground hip-hop that at once clicks and whirs like some electronica head trip; layers on environmental ambience; and assaults the listener with aggressive, intelligent rhymes. Oktopus and dälek met at William Patterson University in the mid-'90s and began collaborating. Soon dälek (as the MC is called) dropped out of school, cashed in his loans, and put his money into his home studio. The duo's first album, Negro Necro Nekros, was released on Gern Blandsten in 1998 to critical acclaim. The record combined elements of Faust, the rock grit of the Velvet Underground, shoegazer density, and IDM beats with insightful lyrics. Consequently Dälek were named on Urb's Next 100 list. During their relentless tour schedule, the duo met DJ Still at a college show and asked him to join the group. Dälek spent the next few years on the road, opening for acts like De La Soul, Prince Paul, DJ Spooky, the Rye Coalition, the Dillinger Escape Plan, the Pharcyde, and the Roots. Dälek's second album, From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots, was released on Ipecac Recordings in August 2002. The record expanded their already broad sound and fully realized the group's position beside hip-hop innovators like Antipop Consortium and cLOUDDEAD.
In 2004, after signing to Ipecac, Dälek released Absence, which brought them their greatest attention to date, and in early 2007, the dark, brooding Abandoned Language came out. Just a few months later, the multimedia album A Purge of Dissidents, which celebrated the ten short animated films the MC dälek had presented in art galleries, with a book, DVD, and CD, was released, and in July of that same year Deadverse Massive, Vol. 1: Dälek Rarities 1999-2006, a collection of hard to find or previously unreleased tracks, came out. In 2008, dälek founded his own label, Deadverse Recordings, and released Oddateee's Halfway Homeless that autumn. That year, as well as completing an extensive European tour, he also finished construction on his private recording facility Deadverse Studios -- a 1,000 square foot studio located nine blocks away from his apartment in northern Jersey. There, he and Oktopus started meticulously piecing together their fifth album, Gutter Tactics, which was released on Ipecac in January of 2009. ~ Charles Spano