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Wednesday, December 13

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Review Wed Nov 03 2010

Review: Daedelus @ Double Door, 10/29

[This review was submitted by Chicago freelance writer Nathalie Lagerfeld.]

Heavy bass is something you feel in your body as much as you hear it with your ears. It reverberates in all your hollow spaces — your throat, chest, your Eustachian tubes. It rustles the hair on your arms and neck. Really, it was no surprise to feel these effects at this Friday's show at the Double Door, where three of the four artists who performed were signed to dubstep pioneer Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label. But one of these artists was monome maestro and wannabe Victorian dandy Daedelus (aka Alfred Darlington), who's better known for his fanciful costumes than he is for throbbing beats.

Daedelus had ten full-length solo albums under his belt before he came to Brainfeeder, and none of them sound very much like dubstep. His songs have eclectic influences, but they're mostly light and upbeat; for instance, he once put out an album built mostly around samples of children's TV soundtracks. Even his album with Brainfeeder, 2010's Righteous Fists of Harmony, tempers its thumps and drones with bossa nova influences, cello samples, and dreamy guest vocals. Daedelus has always seemed unable to commit to one single style or set of influences; he's always trying out new things instead of deepening his engagement with old ones, a trait that can leave his albums feeling frustratingly unfocused.

That's why it was a surprise that the set he played at the Double Door fit right in with those of his labelmates, Gaslamp Killer and Teebs, who had opened for him earlier. For the concert, Daedelus fleshed out some of the heavier material from Righteous Fists, and even gave some of his back catalog a dubstep makeover - for example, he played a version of his 2007 single "Fair Weather Friends" that was nearly unrecognizable, its chirpy vocal samples cloaked in drone. The result was a set of songs much more consistent than any of the albums Daedelus has put out thus far.

Of course, this could be a sign that Daedelus has finally found a musical style worth exploring in depth, but it could also be just another side project. His next album with old label Ninja Tune http://www.ninjatune.net/home/ is due late this year — here's hoping it's more than just a return to form.

-Nathalie Lagerfeld

 
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