Dalek Vs. Faust / Faust

Derbe Respect, Alder

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This is definitely not the kind of collaboration you'd expect, and the result defies expectations. It could have been an awful clash of freaked-out Krautrock with rhymes and scratch. But Derbe Respect, Alder is actually much more, and an excellent case of the end result exceeding the sum of its parts. Of course, the strength of the music is not that surprising. After all, you have in the blue corner a highly creative hip-hop trio from New England, known for its mind-bending studio trickery and refusal to be pigeonholed. And in the red corner: the mighty Faust, who have been constantly redefining (and recycling) themselves. This album was possible only thanks to both parties' open-mindedness and willingness to explore new grounds together, instead of simply meeting each other halfway. Drums whack with insistence; keyboards and electronic textures fill the landscape with windy, filtered sounds; basslines slip under your skin; on-the-fly collages and scratching blur the distinction between real-time instruments and the manipulation of prerecorded sources; finally, the vocals of Dälek and Oktopus add a sense of urgency to the music. Their voices are embedded in the music, as if they were just another layer of noise guitar -- not more or less significant than the other layers. The slightly lengthy opener, "Imagine What We Started," makes for an uneven start, but "Hungry for Now" and "Remnants," two short, punchy songs, propel the album into orbit. But the highlights are found in the more experimental tracks, like "Dead Lies," dense, noisy, and complex, or "Bullets Need Violence." The closer, "T-Electronique," features a looped beat, some of the set's best rhymes, and Hans Joachim Irmler's ferocious processed organ. Derbe Respect, Alder is one of the most surprising albums of 2004 and a highly successful collaboration. Highly recommended.

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