If only “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” had such a soundtrack. If only you could roll down the windows on your own spaceship to let the message flow into nebulous darkness. If only you could listen to an album aboard the Millennium Falcon while Han Solo makes the Kessel Run.
Deltron 3030, a hip-hop supergroup composed of Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala, are releasing their second album Tuesday — 13 years after their first.
Like their self-titled debut, which was set in the year 3030, “Event 2” pays homage to sci-fi and comic books. It’s rife with social commentary railing against the excesses of fat cats and the uber-powerful.
Del and the crew realize the anticipation that surrounds this sophomore release, rapping, “We got music that is truly worth / occupying your finite time of life.”
It’s a dystopian picture the group paints, though it’d be nice to live in a future where Joseph Gordon-Levitt can narrate the introduction, as he does in the album’s opening skit.
It’s not the only “Whaa?”-inducing interlude on the album. Halfway through, the Lonely Island jump in for a minute and a half, hatin’ from the stoop on a passing homeless robot like some kind of interstellar Statler and Waldorf.
David Cross and Amber Tamblyn show up twice, playing dissatisfied armchair quarterbacks discussing such topics as hover sandwiches and Tesla coils.
Deltron 3030 has always embraced goofy and wacky subject matter if it allows them to make their target — the Man —appear even more grotesque.
None of it would be compelling, though, if Kid Koala’s scratching abilities weren’t on full display, or if the tracks weren’t replete with soaring strings, or if the Funky Homosapien didn’t have such a clear flow, allowing the pictures to wash over and through your gray matter without anything lost in translation.
But this isn’t Del’s second rodeo; he’s been honing his style for years. Now he’s a bit mellower, though still the same indelible voice that founded Hieroglyphics, another West Coast supergroup.
Del may be the only recognizable name on the Deltron 3030 jacket, the other two being DJ/producer types, but their contributions are of the utmost importance when creating the sounds for an almost entirely different landscape where people wear goldfish bowls on their heads and automatons whirr and hiss in ways that’d make Fritz Lang proud.
They aren’t the only hip-hoppers to explore the final frontier — the Beastie Boys have gone intergalactic, Kid Cudi went to the moon and Future’s gone to Pluto. But Deltron 3030 take it to a new level.
There’s distortion and fuzz, as if this is truly a transmission from the outer reaches. There are plinking vibratory chords that literally imbue some tracks with audible space.
For Deltron 3030, the only things that haven’t changed 1000 years in the future are snares and hi-hats. It sounds as if the same drum kit could have been used on every song — it’s the only thing grounded in reality.
When the last scratch has echoed through the hi-fi, the record stands as the journey of a futuristic Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo through the desert of space, waxin’ about the sorrows of black holes, all from the comfort of a flying red Caddy.
Artist: Deltron 3030
Album: “Event II”
Label: 75 Ark
4 out of 5 stars
Highlight tracks: “City Rising From the Ashes” and “Pay the Price”