MALK was one of the people behind that Mahatma X album we loved so much earlier in the year. Whereas Mahatma X celebrated the golden age of cut and splice hip-hop MALK delves deeper into the sort of grey areas of cyberpunk and vaporwave that Oneohtrix Point Never also mines. Though there's melody in abundance, this is deep and dark, a terrifying sonic ride through Trump's America.
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What an excellent record. We've heard this so much in the office over the past few weeks and I've heard it through my own earphones more times that I can remember. What this album gives, is a complete submersion into a world of samples and repetitive beats, but without the dull feeling of wishing it was over. It's honestly up there with one of my favourite records of 2018, and it's more than likely going to be in the top five of my top ten albums come December time. It really is that good.
The first two tracks from the record - Everything Must Change and Vulture Culture - are pretty much the perfect start to an electronic record. Vulture Culture gives you a genuine sense of anxiety to begin with, but manages to save your soul from infinite depression about 1 minute and 30 seconds in when you're given a beam of light and gospel vocal synths. As we move through this thoroughly enjoyable album, your mind manages to make connections all over the shop. Your brain starts to give in as MALK opens your eye sockets for a musical inspection.
As our journey reaches the beginning of the middle of the record - Wednesday if you will - we reach some tracks that are only 1 minute and 30 seconds in length. They sound like they could be played in an indie club somewhere in the backstreets of any city. No, wait, they sound like they could be the soundtrack to an indie film filmed somewhere in the backstreets of any city. Hm. In fact, they sound like they could be the soundtrack to an indie film about an indie club filmed somewhere in the backstreets of any city. You get the idea?
Something else rather immersive and unique to Death From A Love is how MALK doesn't really use anything too complex. I'm pretty sure I can hear samples from an old Casio keyboard somewhere amongst the river of sound. I think I can actually some Bart Simpson samples in most of the tracks, too. However, on the flip side, take away the heavy use of samples and, this, combined with a strong and brilliant bass line - like that in "Get A Life Bro" - proves that you don't need to over complicate things with an unnecessary volume of sounds.
Towards the end of the record, we hit some tracks that have a kind of 80's vibe to them. Maybe its just me, but I can definitely hear it. This record really does have everything. It's a truly brilliant record and I would honestly recommend listening to this at least once in their life, if not twice. A great release, and if it wasn't for the impossibility of something being truly perfect, I would give this record a 10/10, but unfortunately I can't. Therefore Death From a Love by MALK gets a solid 9/10.
It’s fair to say we loved the Mahatma X ‘A Mobtown Suite’ album which came out last year. Rather than follow up that extravaganza of J Dilla-ish hip-hop and Madlib influenced samples, the brains behind those laid back beats has metamorphasised into MALK - a seriously different piece of work but just as fascinating…and again it’s become something of an office favourite here at the towers.
Death From A Love is quite possibly the first Trump era record. By that I mean its barrage of electronica - ranging from supremely melodic to totally out there - seems to reflect a confused America where nothing is really as it seems. The constant and increasingly desperate attempts to twist reality from it's lunatic leader seems to be mirrored in this twenty track sprawl. It takes several listens to find your feet with this one. The cut and spliced sounds spill out of every pore - like the music of Oneohtrix Point Never it sometimes seems to designed to disarm with crazed percussion and off key synth work but the album’s saving grace is that out of the chaos comes several examples of real beauty.
While impressive opener ‘Everything Must Change’ has in-vogue John Carpenter synths underpinning spoken word vocals it's ‘International Headass Network’ which is the first moment to truly set the album alight, an incredible ride through sampledelia with cut up vocals and lolling beats that recall an acid fried Prefuse 73. ‘You Thought Wrong’ is an incredible burst of tuneful electronica where street sounds and confused beats battle for supremacy, ‘The Way You Look’ is an 80s inspired slab of vaporwave which again seems to emerge like a pearl of tunefulness out of the chaos that surrounds it while the album closes with the utterly exceptional ‘Electronic Hope’ a stunning tour-de-force of sampled voices proving that when he sits down and concentrates on one thing, MALK can produce truly moving electronic masterpieces seemingly without effort.
MALK’s scattershot approach resembles turn of the century artists such as Kid 606 who seemed supercharged towards making music that disorientated the listener. 'Death From A Love' is a dizzying ride full of haphazard samples, bonkers percussion and a Zomby'esque playfulness. If at times it all sounds like sonic overkill, don't worry there'll be some life-affirming electronic snapshot along in a minute to act as a reassuring balm.
There’s incredible beauty coming through the cracks of this chaos. Death from A Love truly reflects the disorientating times we live in.
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