|Daedelus' Denies the Day's Demise is a dream come true.
The image of Windsor MacKaye’s Little Nemo staring back from the cover of Daedelus’ Denies the Day’s Demise explains everything perfectly. This is all just a dream. Or at least a dream’s the theme here on Daedelus’ fifth album. Having tired of playing around with surrealist techniques, the Los Angeles-based electronic music producer turns his sights towards Slumberland. Denies the Day’s Demise rolls out in a dreamy fashion; from “Sundown” to “Sunrise,” all the songs that fall between flush by like a night spent on a tropical beach, drowning underneath sleep to the crackle of old 45s next to a tanned beauty named Maisa. Then the rude awakening arrives: you fell asleep on the couch in your apartment in the city, and you’re all alone. But hey, you’ve still got the Daedelus album. Apparently our man D is a Bob Newhart fan. The finale twist aside, if there’s a surprise here, the surprise is how immediately enjoyable the album becomes after just a few spins. From the first listen, there’s a magnetic quality to this album. It’s energetic, but comfortably cool. It’s smart, but not overly pretentious. Unless you want it to be, I guess. Quite subtly, this is one quality album. Hmm . . . No, on second thought, the awesomeness of this album is pretty apparent. Daedelus’ lo-fi electronic trickery packs a considerably weighty punch, propelled by beautifully woven snippets of Brazilian rhythms, spasms of sampled sound and dreamy omnichord melodies. But as dense as these tracks can seem, the staggering amounts of syncopated percussion boil this musical medley down to one obvious insight: this album is nothing if not Daedelus’ most danceable album. Some of these beats are so incredibly infectious that the only the disabled and rhythmically challenged will be left sitting after they get going. Really, this is no great shift in Daedelus’ tactics. Even though last year’s collaboration heavy Exquisite Corpse played strong to the underground hip hop crowd, the dance-collage direction of Denies the Day’s Demise finds the “formula” imperceptibly altered. The main difference is the shift of the musical focus. Where before Daedelus picked apart a hodgepodge of genteel jazz-pop and recompiled them into hazy/freakish Max Ernst-cum-Four Tet compositions, this follow up has the man digging heavy into the Brazilian musical vernacular. The titles tell the story: “Bahia,” “Nouveau Nova,” “Samba Legrande,” “Petite Samba.” But rather than simply clipping the beats and leaving at that, Daedelus gums up the works with layers of melody. On “Bahia,” it’s comparable to those aliens from the Space Invader arcade games attacking the northeastern Brazilian town, armed only with oboes and flangers. Conversely, the epic progression on “Sawtooth EKG” stutters about mindlessly, compounded by the sampled outbursts of "ooh." And then there’s “Samba Legrande” which attempts a more techno approach, but still comes off just as contagious as the rest. By playing up the dance groove, Daedelus has effectively topped his past few releases and upped the ante against those who’d consider him a mere Four Tet/Prefuse 73 knock-off. The lack of guest contributors, another pointed change from the last album, makes these sounds all the more savory. And why not? Daedelus knows just the right amount of spice to put in his bouillabaisse. I just hope that tomorrow I don’t wake up and feel like the quality of this album was all the product of a MacKay-esque rarebit night fancy. - CD Reviews