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DAEDELUS - WE LOVE DAEDELUS DARLING by BRAM E. GIEBEN (AKA TEXTURE)

Daedelus is often characterised as a musical enigma. Perhaps this is due to the shimmering, ever-shifting sea of musical styles he adopts on his albums and EPs; perhaps it has something to do with the eclectic samples and diverse instrumentation he employs in making music. But to portray a producer as breathtakingly prolific and inventive as Daedelus as a maverick is to underestimate him completely. Other producers are happy to sit back and push buttons, producing innovative but un-inventive variations on traditional genres and themes. Daedelus meanwhile is constantly cherry-picking and evolving as he writes, records and performs.

In the early years, he brought us twisted, glitched-out hip-hop, with the likes of MF Doom, Madlib and Busdriver providing raps to his far-out soundscapes. He has worn techno trousers, with bossa nova chaps and a samba sombrero on the timeless ‘Daedelus Denies The Day’s Demise’. On last year’s ‘Fair Weather Friends’ EP, he married cut-up R&B to slinky EBM, and stomping carnival techno to epically deep dubstep.

This year sees him deliver a new LP on Ninja Tune, the eagerly anticipated ‘Love To Make Music To’. Sometimes, it is a dancefloor-oriented mashup of club beats; Hollertronix-esque cutups, distorted early-period rave noises, and oddly-quantized Barry White samples. At other times, it’s a gentle blend of dusty jazz and deep folk, analogue pops and clicks transformed into rhythmic signatures and breakbeat curlicues; and yet it is a consistently accessible, sonically gorgeous collection, avoiding the extreme noise of many vaunted experimental pioneers. The album was inspired (at least in part) by inventor Nikolai Tesla: the story of its’ genesis is almost as fascinating and entertaining as the music itself.

The Weaponizer crew spoke to Daedelus after downloading a free mp3 of his new single, ‘Hrs: Mins: Secs’, and dancing around the office for ten minutes like a troupe of ecstasy and absinthe-crazed gibbons.

From what I have heard of 'Love To Make Music To', it sounds like a summer album – one to be played loud, outdoors, to big crowds. Was the production of the album motivated by the gigs you have coming up in the summer, like Big Chill and Sonar?

Can't ignore the possibility of it happening, and it seems crazy judging on my past releases, but I've been working towards this goal of emotional dance music for a while. Consider it a reply to the whole IDM thing, let's lose the intelligence and gain some loud speaker gravity. I can't wait to see how it sails...

You're music has been described as romantic – what processes or methods do you use to infuse electronic music with feeling, that other producers do not?

I hate to claim romanticism for my own, truly mine is just a reaction to this music world we live in. Saying that some electronics seem to ignore melody wouldn't be a stretch. So I enjoy using a ‘heavy hammer’ to have emotion in a song, be it with synths-overabundance or a little clichéd strings, so be it.

Do you still use devices like Monome's MIDI controllers in your live show? Some of your recent tracks (I'm thinking of 'Hrs: Mins: Secs:' and 'Hermitage' for instance) seem intentionally upfront and linear – are they produced using Monome controllers, and like devices?

My use of the Monome has been for long enough that it has pervaded my every recent composition, it's hard not to try and imagine fun ways of taking songs from the studio and getting them to stage in parts to be broken into further pieces. ‘Hrs:Mins:Secs’ certainly revels in its attack, the tension / release, I've had a blast trying to explode it in the live show. But to be sure the Monome is a tool for performance, and at home it helps to not overuse, anything can be rendered a gimmick if we aren't careful.

A Monome device in action:



tehn with two fifty six from tehn on Vimeo.


If you’ll allow me to digress a little, I read a cyberpunk book when I was a teenager which depicted 'future music' as a cut-up of sounds from dozens of different eras – Hendrix with Mozart and African drumming, with jungle-speed Amen breaks… that kind of thing. When I first heard your music, I was reminded powerfully of this. How significant is the blending of samples from different eras for you – is it purely a sonic adventure, or is there another purpose behind it?

I would believe it is unintentional, that auditory synesthesia is a conundrum of our modern age and I'm as infected as anyone. But more sinisterly I know it is not truth, there is no cast off sample; simply used because it works. There is a story if a listener chooses to know it, in the how and why any moment is composed, but if that’s the centre story then I believe it becomes too tall a wall to climb, too boring in specifics. Better to leave the option to a passionate listener. Secondarily it is fun to know that music from any era can be used to have another life in our modern age. I can jam with the greats, in the grand recording studios, borrow into lives lost to the ages...

I read that you used a sample of your girlfriend making 'an elephant noise' in one of your tracks. Do you secretly record conversations and noises, or do you let people know when you have your mics on?

That would be untoward to record everything, no matter the value of a possible word or two, it simply takes up to much harddrive space, I'm more focused on getting the good stuff, you know, animal noises, beatboxing, epic poetry, psychedelic rambling…

You've described yourself as a 'wannabe welshman', and many of your tracks seem to display a fondness for or fascination with European language and culture. What attracts you about Europe?

I'm cool with Europe, UK too, but I am seriously inspired by Wales. For many many reasons, most are more feelings then rational thought, but we all (I hope) dream of things outside ourselves, I just happen to fantasize about a place I can sometimes get up and go to, even if it isn't the capital of electronic music.

You're music has been described as IDM – what do you think of the notion of Intelligent Dance Music?

See my first answer… IDM is certainly a sound I've enjoyed, but we need more then frantic drums over a simple melody in our futures. I believe whole heartedly that musicians should try to inspire genres rather then slave away in one.

Do you ever think you will completely abandon electronic production methods in favour of traditional instruments, or does this run contrary to what you're trying to achieve?

It's already happened on some tracks, I did a song called ‘Experience’ that is entirely acoustic, there are other instances in my back catalog as well. The goal is to make a musical moment, whatever the best way to it.

You offered 'Hrs: Mins: Secs' as a free download on your website, and Ninja Tune will be selling the album as a mid-priced MP3 bundle. Will you ever go in the direction of Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and offer multi-tracks of your songs for bedroom producers to remix?

I like the option that the internet (and file sharing) allows getting more people in on the act. The remix offering is a nice one for bedroom producers, but Ninja Tune and I have a little something more on the way to get people into the fun. It's still being worked on, but there looks to be a virtual Monome in the future, a very dumbed down version, but certainly a joyful rendition anyone can play with and get a small sense of what my live show button-mashing means.

Your vinyl collection must be huge – do you still need to go crate-digging when you're making new music?

I have a small collection by many DJ standards, hovering around 12 thousand or so, but often new sounds get the emotions moving to make new music, be it sampling directly or just inspiration from something novel set forth. Isn't that what it’s about?

‘Love To Make Music To’ is released in June, on Ninja Tune

Download the single ‘Hrs: Mins: Secs’ for free at Daedelusmusic.com

Thanks to James Heather at Ninja Tune, and to Daedelus, the nicest man in electronica...


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