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Los Angeles-based musician Daedelus (Alfred Darlington) is highly esteemed for his inventive sample-based compositions and energetic live performances. A longtime DJ for online radio station Dublab, Daedelus embodies the open-minded spirit of the L.A. music scene and is equally comfortable working with left-field rappers like MF Doom and Mike Ladd as well as contemporary jazz ensembles such as Kneebody. Initially surfacing with more experimental albums such as 2002's Invention, which blended vintage jazz samples with sideways breakbeats, his music ventured into abstract hip-hop on releases like 2003's The Weather (a collaboration with Busdriver and Radioinactive) and 2005's Exquisite Corpse. Subsequent releases such as 2008's Love to Make Music To and 2011's Bespoke were more romantic and song-based, while albums like 2014's The Light Brigade and 2018's Taut focused on dreamy, downtempo grooves.
Born Alfred Weisberg-Roberts in Santa Monica, California, producer/instrumentalist Daedelus wanted to be an inventor from an early age, a sentiment that led to him choosing an artistic moniker (in Greek mythology, Daedelus was known as an inventor, although the producer also cites the character Stephan Dedalus in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the ship in the Japanese cartoon Robotech as equally valid reasons for his selection) when he began releasing his own work. Despite the fact that he was formally trained on double bass and bass clarinet, had studied jazz at USC, and could play additional instruments such as the guitar and accordion, Daedelus chose to go the electronica route, often incorporating samples from the '30s and '40s into his IDM and left-field hip-hop.
Daedelus made his debut in 2001 with the hip-hop-influenced Portrait of the Artist EP and a Dublab-issued split single with Mia Doi Todd, as well as Her's Is > [sic], a Scanner-like experimental full-length constructed from found sounds such as phone calls. However, it was his second album, 2002's Invention (on Plug Research), which put him on the map. The Quiet Party EP, featuring remixes by Madlib and High Priest, soon followed. In 2003, he collaborated with Busdriver and Radioinactive on the experimental hip-hop album The Weather, which was soon followed by its reworked instrumental counterpart, Rethinking the Weather, both on Mush Records. The more downtempo Household EP appeared on Prefuse 73's Eastern Developments that year.
In 2004, the increasingly prolific artist released the jungle-inspired Meanwhile EP and A Gent Agent full-length on Laboratory Instinct, and Of Snowdonia on Plug Research. He returned to Mush in the United States (while signing with Ninja Tune in the U.K.) with 2005's Exquisite Corpse, which featured guest rappers like MF Doom, TTC, and Cyne. Denies the Day's Demise followed in 2006, incorporating the artist's own dapper vocals on a few tunes. The harder-edged Axe Murderation EP, featuring remixes by Venetian Snares and Eight Frozen Modules, appeared on early home Phthalo Records in 2007.
By this point, Daedelus (now known by the surname Darlington) had become highly praised for his inventive, engaging live performances, which utilize a colorful, grid-based controller called a Monome. Live at Low End Theory, recorded during a July 2007 performance at Los Angeles' The Airliner, was released by Alpha Pup in early 2008. The upbeat Love to Make Music To, which mixed twisted funk with bits of psychedelic pop, soul, and rap, followed on Ninja Tune in July. The following year, Daedelus and his wife, Laura Darlington, released an eponymous album of acoustic, bossa nova-influenced pop as the Long Lost. Righteous Fists of Harmony, issued in 2010, was released on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label.
In 2011, Ninja Tune released the ambitious Bespoke, which found Daedelus working with a long list of guest vocalists, including Will Wiesenfeld (Baths), Inara George of the Bird and the Bee, and a then-unknown Kelela. His 2013 effort, Drown Out, appeared on Anticon and featured no guest vocalists, and while The Light Brigade from 2014 was mostly instrumental, the Brainfeeder release did feature an appearance from Young Dad's vocalist Jason Galle. A year later he teamed with the L.A.-based experimental instrumental ensemble Kneebody for the collaborative LP Kneedelus. The more collaborative Labyrinths was issued as a cassette that year before Japanese label Astrollage issued it on CD in 2017. Also that year, Fat Beats released Baker's Dozen: Daedelus, the fifth installment in their popular, highly detailed and exclusive vinyl series. The lush, trippy full-length Taut followed in 2018. ~ Marisa Brown & Paul Simpson
- Santa Monica, CA
- 31 Oct 1977
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