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Denies the Day's Demise

Rating: 9/10 ?

June 12, 2006
MF Doom, Sci, Laura Darling, Prefuse 73, TTC, Cyne, Mike Ladd, and Hrishikesh Hirway. These were some of the guest appearances that could be found on last year's Exquisite Corpse, a record so unparalleled that its mere existence defied any successful progression from that point. For their follow up, Denies the Day's Demise, Santa Monica-based Daedelus played all instruments and provided all vocals with the exception of "Sundown," sung by Amir Yaghmai, and "Our Last Stand," which deserved additional programming by Jonathan Larroquette.

And, although its predecessor is like a milestone in soundscaping, Denies the Day's Demise proves that Daedelus needn't have an army of guest stars to craft an enjoyable album. But this is more than that. Denies the Day's Demise is an enjoyable album, one of those which ultimately leads to wild speculation as to whether any future albums in the same vein will ever manage as well. Releasing one album per year as Daedelus (real name: Alfred Weisberg Roberts) blends sterile digital fragments with dreamy swirls of sound and color to a pleasant and always promising result.

2002's Invention from Plug Research had already beached Daedelus far from the insipid, uninspired playground in which modern producers are content to frollick, and Denies the Day's Demise is the true and definite realization of the Promethean skills he hides under his fingers. Boldly creative tracks like the opener. "At My Heels" (isn't that narration voice reminiscent of Burroughs?) and "Like Clockwork Springs" are defiantly at odds with the vacant promenade that is to escalate the American Top 40 on a Saturday afternoon.

By the third song,"Bahia," Denies the Day's Demise treats listeners to the discovery of soaked Brazilian rhythms, remarkably able to still find space on the producer's palette. This time, Daedelus explores samba and bossa nova, and integrates their vernacular, juicy nutrients in an already succulent platform. He provides these bits of dash now ("Petite Samba") and then ("Viva Vida"), adding the punch just when it is needed rather than dumping it all over the map, opting to sound fresh rather than obnoxiously literal. Apart from these Latin influences and the funky element the provide, the disc is a dense, cerebral, sweated-over work of art.

The orchestral sketches in numbers like "Dreamt of Drowning," merged with some figures of an aural past, notably arrangements from the 30s, risk putting this record in the jazz section of a slippery home catalogue. The IDM counterpart in this record - there's at least one in every Daedelus album; in Exquisite Corpse it was "Just Briefly" - is "Our Last Stand," a hit-and-run game that inebriates both the mind and the legs. His arsenal is like any other producer's; a fistful of boxes, beats that defy gravity and common sense, and samples that induce headaches when isolated from the blanketed comfort that they give to their music. But, while most simply obliterate their potential in their haste to create the illusion of newness, Daedelus is a devoted, creative artist.

Alfred Roberts has been releasing records and remixes solo, under the Daedelus moniker, and also with Frosty as Adventure Time or, as he puts it,"soon enough The Long Lost (with Laura Darling)," but he never lets his music sound obsolete. Even after repeated listens. Choosing to take cues from the past, Daedelus never alienates the modern electronics he has in store. And, unlike Winsor McCay's creation, Little Nemo, featured on the cover, he knows how to sound wiser every day.

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes



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