Daedelus – Bespoke (Ninja Tune/Inertia)

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Alfred Darlington, the man behind Daedelus, is as eclectic and as eccentric as his music, and his new album Bespoke in no exception. Released on the mighty Ninja Tune label this eleven track offering is riddle with polyrhythms, lush samples and a grit that seems synonymous with the LA beat scene. It has guest vocals on many tracks such as, the amazing Bilal from Plug Research and a previous collaborator Busdriver. With all the talented contributions to the album you would expect it to be teeming with great tracks.

Opening the album is the track “Tailor-Made” which features vocals from Milosh, and is a wash of rhythms wondering in and out of a squelchy synth riff. However, “Tailor-Made” is not the strongest track of the album, so it should not have been the single or the opening track.

The second track “Sew. Darn. Mend” beginnings with an epic catchy motive, complimented with strumming guitars and lush drums in the background. It then descends into a circuit bent, bit crushed transformation of the original motive. Track three features vocals from Inara George, with a sea sick motive and heavily grooved polyrhythms. This track really delivers what the world has come to expect from the LA beat scene, complimented with the seductively husky vocals of Inara.

Granulated reverbs with an ostentatious horn riff in “Suit yourself” and a funky bongo driven rhythm, make this track surprisingly infectious and satisfying. The smooth vocals of Busdriver meets Daedelus on “What can you do?”. With a four-on-the-floor kick rhythm that heavily side-chains a house like synth riff, thickened with washed out breaks and well placed, well sourced samples, its a really pleasing track.

“Overwhelmed” has a garage mid-bass motive, and hovers around 130bpm making the whole track a woozy synthesis of post garage and rock n’roll. This track captures, and tantalizes, it is a completely hypnotic experience. Laced with Bilal’s meandering vocals that help drive the listener deeper into Daedelus warped, psychedelic rabbit hole.

This album is not without oddities that are displeasing. “French Cuffs” feature Baths is an ugly bricolage of strange sequenced snyths, sustained horns and clearly dissonant vocal harmonies. The rhythm is hyperactive and the continuous snare pattern grates at the ear. The following track “In Tatters” is equally displeasing, with meaningless whiny vocals and hugely reverberate drums.

On the whole, Daedelus has delivered an album that pushes boundaries but doesn’t alienate listeners. Another solid album from the talented LA producer.

James Horsfall

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About Author

Sound designer and composer James Horsfall is currently completing his degree in Music at the Australian Institute of Music. Investigating acousmatic and electro-acoustic works.

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