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It's tricky coming up with a sophomore album. One could say it's about taking the essence of your past work and bringing it to another level, without doing the same thing twice. With that in mind, Paris/Montreal based producer Dela teams up with Drink Water Music to deliver Translation Lost, the follow up to 2009's Changes Of Atmosphere.
It started as a simple beat tape. Freshly installed in Montreal, where he was planning to put music on the side for a little while, it only took a couple weeks before Dela felt the need to put together a small setup (a MPC 1000, a turntable and computer speakers) and went back to creating. Beats quickly accumulated. Most were used for side projects that have yet to be released. Some had a special feel : Dela decided to put them together to create what would become Translation Lost.
Most of the album was composed in Montreal in 2009 and 2010. The sonics of the album were shaped by the vinyls Dela would come across, constantly visiting record stores throughout the city. Jazz, Funk, Prog, Quebec music being the styles he sampled the most. His love for melodies and beautiful chord changes has remained intact, but an accent is made on the drums, probably the most important instrument in Hip-Hop music.
While Changes Of Atmosphere had guests on every track (Talib Kweli, Les Nubians, Large Professor, Elzhi to name a few), the new album is half instrumental. Reach, a Kansas City based MC who appears on most Dela's projects, opens the record with Go On, an ode to the working class. Californian super MC Blu, who has been a regular guest on Dela's mixtapes & album as well, blesses us with Lucy's&LooseLeafs and WhatUWanna. Sowlie, a young talent from France, lends her wordless vocals to the laidback Chunky Monkeying while Long Island born & raised MC Kemizt, who's currently working on a whole project with Dela, speaks his piece on I Will.
But the main theme of the album is declared by Aliya, a friend of Dela who also had a little cameo on Changes Of Atmosphere. Her introduction sets the tone : Translation Lost is about love stories gone wrong. It's about that very moment in a relationship when two people can't understand each other anymore. Even though Translation Lost is not to be called a concept album, the theme is indeed omnipresent and defines the mood of the whole record. Another huge inspiration is Louis Malle's movie Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud. A passionate cinephile, Dela does not hesitate to dig in his favorites movies for samples and ideas.
Melancholy, nostalgia, but also hope and aspiration, these are the feelings Translation Lost will inspire. Whether heartbroken or not, Translation Lost is the kind of record you'll love to play on rainy and cloudy days.