Rating: Ignore everything I’ve ever said about releases taking a long time to come out. No one has ever taken the piss to this extent before. Mind you everything about Deltron 3030’s Deltron Event 2 screams ‘epic.’ There are the main participants (West Coast underground rap legend Del The Funky Homosapien, production legend Dan The Automator and turntablist legend Kid Koala), the collaborators (a myriad of major artists plus a live orchestra) and the legions of hysterical fanboys. Why would the wait be anything less than epic too? Still, finally, thirteen years since the first album, Deltron Event 2 is actually here. But is it a massive non-event or an epochal musical singularity? Let’s do a ‘Byron’ and find out!
1. STARDATE (feat. Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
Talkie opening bit with that bloke from Inception delivering a synopsis of the dystopian state of the world in the year 3040 – society falling apart ‘under the weight of economic despair’, banks collapsing, corrupt politicians. Funny how things change. Still – it’s not all bad – Area 51 and the Loch Ness Monster turn out to be real and Del and Dan are back.
2. THE RETURN
Certainly is. Gotta give the people what they want. And what they want is Del rapping about global corruption over blissed-out space-hop. Nice one.
3. PAY THE PRICE
Use a sci-fi disguise for your commentary about feral capitalists which unfolds over portentous piano tinkling and a fat break and you can stick it to the man until the cows come home. It’s about time someone did.
4. NOBODY CAN (feat. Aaron Bruno of AWOLNATION)
Or more specifically, (as Del’s sung hook reveals) “Deltron is our hero/ If he can’t do it nobody can.” A largely impenetrable sci-fi narrative which broadly appears to continue the laudable theme of sticking it to rich and powerful over fat bass amid mentions of ‘private continents’ and ‘dark sabers.’ Works for me.
5. LAWNCHAIR QUARTERBACK PT.1 (feat. David Cross and Amber Tamblyn)
Skit: the celebrity Yank couple lampoon low-slung jeans by imagining the phenomenon is completely inverted in the year 3040 when the fashion will be to wear your pants ‘up around your ears.’ Hilarious. As in, not especially.
6. MELDING OF MINDS (feat. Zach De La Rocha)
Bloody hellfire – that’s more like it. The former RATM frontman joins Del over explosive guitar stabs and full-on drum breaks with his voice so reverbed you can’t clearly make him out. He sounds cross though. It’ll be all that corporate tax avoidance.
7. THE AGONY (feat. Mary Elizabeth Winstead)
The drama continues. This time guest Mary Elizabeth Winstead supplies the hook, sounding for all the world like a helium-voiced Korean pop starlet.
8. BACK IN THE DAY (feat. The Lonely Island)
The Yank comedy group sound like Statler & Waldorf off the Muppets trying to be ’87-era Beastie Boys on this one. Del wisely makes himself scarce…
9. TALENT SUPERSEDES (feat. Black Rob)
Indeed it does – Del’s back with Bad Boy records alumnus Black Rob for another banger – something about ‘supermassive black holes and spacecraft flying around the sun trying to take cash.’ Nope me either but it sounds dope.
10. LOOK ACROSS THE SKY (feat. Mary Elizabeth Winstead)
Winstead on the hook again – slightly less helium in the mix now. Quite beautiful really. Oh and Del’s got stealth technology or something.
11. THE FUTURE OF FOOD (feat. David Chang)
More future-themed ‘humour,’ this time from celebrity chef David Chang. Apparently food in 3040 is ‘pretty rad.’ I thought that was pool-skating in 1978…
12. MY ONLY LOVE (feat. Emily Wells)
Emily Wells on the hook and we’re back to the paranoid tripped-out space-hop – a wise move…
13. WHAT IS THIS LONELINESS? (feat. Damon Albarn and Casual)
…so wise in fact that it continues here with the help of the former Blur frontman and one of Del’s Hiero homies – Casual.
14. LAWNCHAIR QUARTERBACK PT. 2 (feat. David Cross and Amber Tamblyn)
These two again. Alas, no new material since the previous skit.
15. CITY RISING FROM THE ASHES (feat. Mike Patton)
Zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom! The official lead single. Epic sci-fi rap. Obviously.
16. DO YOU REMEMBER? (feat. Jamie Cullum)
Jamie fucking Cullum? Jamie ‘coffee-table- jazz-dwarf’ Cullum? Jamie that’s tupping that super-model Cullum? That’s him doing the hook is it? Yeah alright – it does sound pretty good…
COMMENTS: Epochal musical singularity it is then. Surely if anything was ever going to be a solid gold, overblown, self-indulgent anti-climax – it was this. But it isn’t! It’s a stone cold classic! Hurrah! And that’s despite some of the skits and the omnipresent celebrity – er – presence. Del keeps it dark. Automator keeps it fat. Koala keeps it scratchy and we all get to enjoy psychedelic space rap and give the suits a middle finger at the same time. Looking forward to the next one sometime in the 31st century.
BEST TRACKS: The Return, Pay The Price, Melding Of Minds, The Agony, Look Across The Sky, City Rising From The Ashes, Do You Remember.
(Out 30 September on Caroline)
Stream the whole album HERE – soundcloud player of a few tracks below: