There's a strain of hip-hop that has grown alongside the form's mainstream version, pretty much from the beginning. It favors a darker, heavier, politically and socially incisive brand of the music that knows no fear, borrowing and assimilating from a broad base of styles not limited to urban music or R&B.
When hip-hop became commercial pop music and promptly morphed into a caricature of itself, these "underground" believers in this approach kept on keeping on.
Dalek -- pronounced "dialect" -- emerged from Newark, N.J., in 1998 with the release of "Negro, Necro, Nekros," and from the beginning, it was clear which side of the hip-hop fence these guys were operating on. "Complicated and smart," Urb Magazine correctly noted; this was hip-hop that bordered the avant-garde, employed noise like a Seattle punk band, layered its sound like My Bloody Valentine interpreting Slayer.
The group -- now comprised of Will "Dalek" Brooks and partner Alap "Oktopus" Momin -- teamed with former Faith No More/Mr. Bungle/Fantomas leader Mike Patton, signed to his Ipecac Records label in 2004, and released "Absence," widely praised as a new high watermark for hip-hop.
A follow-up, much buzzed-about record is due this spring. In the meantime, Dalek has joined with Meat Beat Manifesto for a winter tour, which stops inside the Buffalo Icon, 391 Ellicott St., for a 7 p.m. show Sunday.
Tickets are available now for $13 at the Icon box office or through www.Tickets.com. Admission at the door on Sunday evening will be $15. Call the Icon at 842-0167 for more information.
-- Jeff Miers