|For many listeners, last year’s Exquisite Corpse album on Ninja Tune would have been the first they’d heard of eccentric and unpredictable LA-based electronic producer Daedelus (real name Alfred Weisberg-Roberts), despite the fact that he has a sizeable backcatalogue of both solo and collaborative album releases on smaller independent labels such as Mush and Plug Research. In many senses representing a perfect intro primer to Daedelus’ own skewed and extremely eclectic take on leftfield hiphop, Exquisite Corpse was also one of his most collaboration-based collections yet, with the likes of Prefuse 73, Scienz Of Life and Ammoncontact featured amongst the tracklisting. Now, a scant year later this speedy follow-up Denies The Day’s Demise throws the spotlight on a considerably different side of Daedelus – if Exquisite Corpse represented his hiphop-oriented side, this latest album is definitely more of an 'electronica’ record, with discernible nods to both Latin music and tropicalia present throughout virtually all the tracks here. Unlike its predecessor, Denies The Day’s Demise also features absolutely no collaborations, with Daedelus stripping things back to just his own production, instrumentation and voice.
Opening track "At My Heels" certainly starts things with a bang, explosively clattering sampled jazz breaks slamming their way beneath spy-jazz basslines, swirling fragments of cut-up and stuttered orchestral flourishes and sparkling samba percussion rolls, some suitably odd vocal samples (“he’s treading on my heels, he said to himself” “he had not told them about his invention”) showing Daedelus’ taste for the curious and eccentric side of sampling sources clearly in evidence. After this thunderous beginning, first single "Sundown" shows Daedelus throwing in virtually everything including the kitchen sink as it shifts from his own heavily reverbed vocals and some spidery wandering IDM iciness flecked with feathery acoustic guitars and angelic vocals into a Brazilian batucada battle accompanied by a roaring crowd and back again in a way that’s virtually impossible to describe effectively in writing, but works perfectly when you hear it. By this point, one of the most thrilling attributes of this record is that you have virtually no inkling as to where Daedelus is going to jump next, and "Nouveau Nova" certainly manages to provide another effective curveball, emerging from some juddering neo-classical meets electro synthetic string riffs, buzzing bass and clattering programmed rhythms into delicate piano-led samba riddled with ghostly digitally-processed turntable spinbacks, before "Samba Legrand" lays down one of this album’s most electro-fuelled moments, burbling synthetic basslines riding alongside bright sampled tropicalia percussion and loose-sounding sleigh bells as dark, vaguely rave-tinged stabs rise up out of heavily-reverbed layers of rhythmic texture and a solitary acoustic guitar picks out forlorn-sounding notes. "Bahia" meanwhile places clattering samba rhythms, rich sampled brass and massed Brazilian instrumentation over a grimy backing of distorted sub-bass swells in one of the more dancefloor-oriented moments on offer here, before "Sawtooth EKG" layers stuttering epic cinematic orchestral samples over a tumbling rhythmic backdrop that’s one part Tito Puente, the other James Brown, the occasional sampled grunt echoing out over the twirling timpanis and eerie-sounding theremin howls. An excellent new album from Daedelus that offers a completely divergent slant to his creative muse than that seen on last year’s Exquisite Corpse whilst also taking his musical explorations into completely new, intriguing areas; fans of open-minded electronica that throws the rulebook out the window ala Scott Herren and Diplo will most definitely dig this one. Apparently there’s a conceptual theme in there too, but stuffed if I could find it. I simply enjoyed it. - In the Mix