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Deltron 3030
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AuthorTopic:  Deltron 3030
88

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Location: What does god have to do with the pronunciation of a word?
posted Friday, August 03, 2018 5:48:04 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for 88


haven't listened to this in ages, but i've been riding a trip hop wave lately, so that's got me itching to revisit this, and my disappointment in the new octagon album also has me looking back on dan's hey days. my tastes have changed a lot since the last time i've listened to this, so hoping the album i regarded so greatly still holds up.

dan the automator, discussing dr octagon: Hip-hop was always inventive. Then the '90s hit and everyone wants to be Dr. Dre; no one wants to be their own thing anymore. Everyone now wants to have the Lexus and deal pounds of drugs. We don't do that. That's not our lifestyle. You don't see us coming out with the fur coat. There's more to music than that

dan the automator had only a few years prior hit big with dr. octagon and endtroducing. really, what a year 1996 was for automator. on top of those two heavy weight albums, he also quietly released the better tomorrow EP. that's about as good a year as one could ask for. but there was a major stumble at the end of that year too: automator released an instrumental version of octagon, upsetting keith and kutmasta kurt (kurt was already upset, because he came up with the octagon concept with keith, and dan ran with the idea and got all the credit from fans). dan had found in keith a rapper weird enough to join him in pushing the boundaries of hip hop, but then he lost that partnership, not only because of personal problems, but because keith wanted to move on from the concept. after that, dan put out an obscure trip hop album, remixing bollywood music, and then linked up with prince paul to put out the handsomeboy modeling school concept album. in other words, after hitting big in '96, dan did some experimenting. all of these releases directly predicate the deltron album: dr octagon got his feet wet in the hip hop genre; endtroducing gave him first hand experience of how much more potential there was in hip hop than was previously realized; endtroducing (one critic calls it the "crown jewel of trip hop", and he's probably right) and bombay the hardway gave him a chance to muck around in the trip hop genre; and collaborating with prince paul enhanced his interests in concept albums (there are skits on dr octagon, but nowhere near as ambitious as deltron). the last two albums, bombay and how's your girl, almost feel like test runs for deltron, in hindsight. with keith collabos no longer an option, i imagine automator was anxious to find another rapper to "get weird" with for a full length album, like he did with keith on octagon; as he mentions in the quote above, he was clearly not interested in making typical hip hop. so, during his work with prince paul, dan not only worked with kid koala, he also linked up with del...

del, discussing the deltron Z character: I used to be into anime and video games, manga. I used to like this game called Mega Man, and I know that they had a game called Mega Man X. It was basically the same Mega Man, but with souped-up graphics. Just futuristic. I just tripped off that and played with that same concept with myself. Still Del. But set in a futuristic world.

you'll notice a strange thing at the bottom of this post: comments from roger ebert about the difficulties of whoopi goldberg's hollywood career. i add this for comparison with del, who has had similar difficulties in the hip hop genre. he's too strange and unique, his interests are too different from his peers, and he has an odd voice. he just never fit in to the normal factory model of what makes a rapper. but that's why this project's so special. del found a concept and a producer who could push him to his full potential. and what a result we got! arguably one of the most unique independent hip hop albums ever made. and it all came from the fact that the right weirdos met up at perfectly the right time in their individual careers.

you'll notice i don't have anything longwinded to say about kid koala. tbh, the guy's amazing, and he just showed up and did his thing like no big deal. see him live if you get a chance, it's a special thing.

so let's look at all the tracks, one by one:

but first, a note on skits: skipping commentary on all skits here, because i'm a jerk. i don't usually care for skits, but i recognize how much of a difference they make on a concept album like this one. regardless, i don't have anything to say about them individually. however, i want to mention one thing about the skits on this album, in general: del mentions in an interview that dan complained to del that his lyrics were getting too dark, that he wanted del to lighten the mood a little. i think dan might have added these skits partly because they were the lighten-the-mood factor dan wanted (ie the lightheartedness of mc paul barnam's character opposed to del's virus character). i could be wrong, but i think if you remove all the skits, this album would come across a lot more bleak.

3030 - what a showstopper of an album opener. people never mention this one, when discussing best album openers (maybe because there's an intro skit before it???), but i think this is one amazing track. it's almost 8min long, but this is one of the very, very rare occasions where i'll say who cares. even if this was the only track they ever made, i'd be satisfied. it's such a masterpiece of a song. the beat is like nothing hip hop had ever heard before. a perfect entrance to the world of our hero, deltron z. and del's z character fits right in, "yo, it's 3030!". wow! and then the choir and the horns come in and the clouds open and you see the face of god nodding his head to the beat, like the wigger we all hoped and knew he was. i mean, jesus, this is good. i'd go so far as to say it's the best thing dan has ever done. i might as well make a comment here and now about the average song lengths on this album: i typically complain about albums with overly long song lengths, but most of those albums don't include a DJ scratching on every track. that changes things, i think. five minutes of a rapper rapping over the same beat gets boring/exhausting, but a rapper rapping for a few minutes and then a DJ doing his thing for a couple feels different to me, somehow. so, against my normal ways, i say that i don't mind song lengths on this album. also, this album is so different in scope from those albums. this is a hip hop opera/epic; of course it's going to have some length to it, but it earns it.

Things You Can Do - man oh man, listen to those drums. engineering dj shadow's album sure helped automator get a good ear for hip hop drums. this track thumps! and del's staccato cadence is perfect here. this is the energy from him that was missing on event 2 (although, not that i think about it, that lower energy might have been an intentional conceptual choice, such as apocalypse fatigue, but i got to revisit that album real bad). after the godly sweep of 3030, it's nice to jump right into a straight headnodder like this one (if you follow along with the skits, this boom bap track is also a great follow up to the first announcement from prince paul about the upcoming rap battle, because it showcases to the fans how deltron z might fair in that impending battle).

Positive Contact - three perfect beats in a row. love the energy on this one, and del enters his first verse masterfully, "transmutation, brand new statements!". he's so appropriately weird for this deltron world, and much kudos goes to dan for recognizing and coaching that, like the super producer he is.

Virus - the first deltron track they recorded. i mean, whoa! 3030 is the masterpiece track on here, but this one's right there with it. in hindsight, you can tell this is the first track they produced. the beat's simpler. but del goes so dark (no wonder dan complained the album wasn't light enough). so many rappers try to convince you how badass they are, but del takes an entirely different approach. he doesn't have to convince anyone, the man is bad. notably, dan's next project would be his most popular -- the gorrilaz album. and he took del with him to continue being weird and dark and mysterious. they had a track together on how's your girl, but the weirdness really all started here. brilliant!

Upgrade (A Brymar College Course) - after the perfect four track run, this song slows things down. not in a bad way, either. you need a minute to slow down and chill, after those four tracks. this cool atmospheric beat makes me think of company flow's funcrusher plus a little. imagine if el-p and automator linked up around this time. only a year after deltron, el-p dropped his own magnum opus, cold vein. i never thought about it, but that's a great "what if?". anyway, del leans into the weirdness on this track, dragging out the word, "matter", in the chorus, turning it into a kind of moan. very cool. how good is his rapping in verse 5: "Watch the cannons twist while I lockout my hardware/Word warfare logistically locate and process/With psychotropics to optimize my profits/Envelop you with development kits that help me/To embellish the elements dynamic and too intelligent. i mean, company flow was doing the big vocabulary thing ultramag started back in 88, but del just breathes this stuff, like it's easy. his flow is so natural, regardless of how tongue twisty his rhymes get. what a vocalist.

Mastermind - relatively speaking, this is one of the more conventional tracks on the album. which is fine, after the strange atmostphere of upgrade. we're back to the boom bap style we heard earlier on things you can do. automator knows how to even things out and sequence a tracklist real well.

Madness - kid koala does some nice work scratching a horn in the background here, during del's verses. you don't hear that often, where a dj does their thing during a rapper's verse. they're usually separate. i don't know about this sampled chorus singing though. it's the first complaint i have of the album, but i'm not really a fan of it. the track has a nice medium tempo going, but then this sung chorus is a slower tempo, so it feels tonally off to me. not sure dan really made this one work, tbh. he drops all the instruments except the drumming when the singing occurs, because the singing doesn't work with the rest of the song's music. it's odd to me, but maybe it's just me, i don't know.

Time Keeps On Slipping - this is probably my least fav song on the album. the singing, again, ruins it for me. i thought this was a dystopian hellhole we were living in, so what's with the gentle singing? give me more virus, lol. del's rapping is so top notch, but that weird neil young type of singing puts me off (maybe it even is a neil sample, let me check: it's damon albarn from the gorrilaz singing apparently, who also co-produced the track). track ain't for me.

Turbulence - here we go, back into the good deltron after a road bump or two. apparently some guy named mark bell remixed this track, so i don't know if the beat is entirely his, or if he and dan did it together. no idea, and can't seem to find any info on it. anyway, very cool atmosphere on this beat. del's chorus is kinda meh, tbh, though. not my fav track on the album, but it sounds great after that weird time keeps on slipping track.

Battlesong - the rap battle track prince paul's been promising us in the skits is here. or, at least, a track about trying to be in a battle (bait and switch!!!). this one's beat reminds me a lot of el-p's soundscapes. pretty cool track, but this is one track that suffers from length, imo. the beat's one of the simpler ones on the album, and it gets a bit redundant at four minutes long. on the other hand, lyrically this is a straightforward storytelling track, so maybe they kept the beat simple so the focus could be on del's story. i don't know. koala's got a nice scratch break on this track.

Love Story - what a cool beat on this one. it's not nearly as spacey as the other beats - especially coming right after one of the most spacey beats on the album in battlesong - but it works. del's staccato cadence/vocals aren't really right for a love song, so it's good that he doesn't go for a direct one here. they lean into the deltron world's version of a "love story", rather than going conventional. the sample reminds me a lot of the 90s, for some reason.

Memory Loss - nice horns start this one off. what a cool beat. even though the last track's beat was nice, it gets a little repetitive (thankfully that one's a shorter track) and the track before that had quite a repetitive beat, so it's nice to end the album on a track that has a beat with some variety in it.

final thoughts:

this album is very frontloaded to me. it starts out so amazing, and then kind of loses steam in the second half, only to give us two great tracks at the very end. skits aside, the first four track run of this album is perfect. well balanced, from space opera to boom bap to apocalyptic. even though it's such a great run of tracks, i wonder if they should have split them up so the album felt better balanced, rather than frontloaded. i don't know. i feel like there's a track or two in the second half that could get cut, but that's probably just me. i feel like singing is out of place on this album/in this dystopian world. regardless, one of the all time great opening tracks on a hip hop album, imo. however, i wonder if that track would work better at the beginning of the album or the end. probably the beginning, but i'm just thinking out loud now. i'll stop.




Roger Ebert, reviewing the film, Thief - Does Hollywood think Whoopi Goldberg recently arrived here from another planet? Do they think she has one of those invisible protective shields around her, like in the old toothpaste commercials? Do they respond at all to her warmth, her energy, her charisma? Sure, she looks a little funny, but why isn't she allowed to have normal relationships in the movies? Why is she always packaged as the weirdo from Planet X? The occasion for these questions is "Burglar," a witless, hapless exercise in the wrong way to package Goldberg. This is a woman who is original. Who is talented. Who has a special relationship with the motion picture comedy. It is criminal to put her into brain-damaged, assembly-line thrillers.

Let's face it. Hollywood knows Goldberg is talented, but nobody knows how to handle her in the movies. She is a woman. She is black. She looks goofy. So, they take the path of no resistance. They ignore all of those realities about her. It is one thing to argue that casting directors should be color blind, but another thing altogether to cast Whoopi Goldberg in a role so impersonal that it could be filled by Robert Redford, Seka or Rin-Tin-Tin - all without a rewrite.

Nothing in "Burglar" depends on or grows out of Goldberg's sex. With a few costume changes, her role could be played by a man. Nothing depends on her race. As nearly as I could tell, this movie thinks she is the only black person in the world and nobody knows it. Nothing depends on her personality, because she has no meaningful or comprehensible relationships with anybody except for a weirdo played by Bob Goldthwait. His role is almost an insult: What are we to make of the fact that Goldberg's only close friend is insane? Is there anything worth seeing in this movie? Maybe the motorcycle chase up and down the hills of San Francisco, but that could have been in any movie. Does Goldberg show her talent? She does in the quiet way she makes observations, in the sweet way she tries to angle around frontal assaults, in the way she tries to talk herself out of tight corners. In an intelligent movie, those qualities would have contributed to the effect, instead of existing apart from it.

Here is what is happening: Goldberg's career is being destroyed. She came out of nowhere, she had some success on the stage, she was brilliant in "The Color Purple" and now, with one cynical deal after another, she is being shoehorned into formula movies that don't even have a chance of being good. Soon she will be "unbankable," and that will be that. The system will have chewed up and spit out another talent who suffers from the terrible quality of being unique.

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88

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Member Since: 2008
Location: What does god have to do with the pronunciation of a word?
posted Friday, August 03, 2018 5:49:10 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for 88
just like when i did this for nas' it was written, i strongly recommend UGHHers listen to the album, and post their own track by track thoughts here. it's a fun exercise.

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Litney spears

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Location: Whattup Fosters. You know I been drinkin nuffin but dem good limited release beers, all Double IPA's
posted Friday, August 03, 2018 6:06:10 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for Litney spears
No one's reading all that for a shit album mate

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illspitter

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Location: Denmark
posted Friday, August 03, 2018 6:28:24 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for illspitter
I did. Thanks for the time you put into it 88 - made me want to give to it again.

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technosapien36

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posted Friday, August 03, 2018 6:34:12 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for technosapien36
TL;DR - It's dope

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tippi dink

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posted Friday, August 03, 2018 6:38:03 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for tippi dink   Click Here to Email tippi dink
good thread, deltron 3030 is one of my favorite albums of all time. i can't believe you dislike time keeps on slipping that much though, that's always been a highlight for me.

my top 5 tracks would probably be

3030
madness
time keeps on slipping
positive contact
things you can do

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88

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Member Since: 2008
Location: What does god have to do with the pronunciation of a word?
posted Friday, August 03, 2018 6:41:36 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for 88
it's an all time fav for me too, tippi. I can't stand that singing on time tho. *shrugs

give us a track-by-track breakdown, tip!

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88

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Location: What does god have to do with the pronunciation of a word?
posted Friday, August 03, 2018 6:42:08 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for 88
I never really noticed the drums on thing you can do before, but they're so dope.

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Lpac

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posted Friday, August 03, 2018 6:45:14 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for Lpac
Very dope album but prefer No Need For Alarm, Future Developement and Both Sides of the brain

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mic_data

Total Posts: 1488
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posted Friday, August 03, 2018 7:15:27 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for mic_data
What about Event 2?

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anti-stunna

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Location: WestRoast
posted Friday, August 03, 2018 7:35:37 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for anti-stunna
nothing tops this shit. one my first records i got at the records store haha.

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crOwcaine

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posted Friday, August 03, 2018 8:03:36 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for crOwcaine
There's too many guitars and rock drums on this.

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hiphopmarket

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posted Saturday, August 04, 2018 1:52:08 AM    Click Here to See the Profile for hiphopmarket   Click Here to Email hiphopmarket
such a great sample

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88

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posted Saturday, August 04, 2018 11:10:43 AM    Click Here to See the Profile for 88
Hoe dare you, crow!

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mic_data

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posted Saturday, August 04, 2018 4:59:25 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for mic_data
I still like Future Development best.

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putitonbigl

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posted Sunday, August 05, 2018 2:08:25 AM    Click Here to See the Profile for putitonbigl
Mastermind is one of the best beats eva

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NoHeadlights

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Location: Whattup Fosters. You know I been drinkin nuffin but dem good limited release beers, all Double IPA's
posted Sunday, August 05, 2018 12:33:35 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for NoHeadlights
Threw this on the record player last night while I was reading Batman: Hush

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