Daedelus: Denies the Day's Demise
Ninja Tune

On his sophomore Ninja Tune outing, Daedelus (Alfred Weisberg-Roberts) shifts the focus from the hip-hop of Exquisite Corpse to the warped Mambo King cha-cha of Denies The Day's Demise. Eschewing collaborations altogether, the LA-based producer takes listeners on a dizzying 15-song roller-coaster ride that collectively constitutes a decidedly flattering portrait of his eccentric genius. As the title suggests, the release orients itself around a late-night theme, not one centered on dreams and sleep but rather joyous nightclubbers fervently intent on denying day's end. The material's South American and Caribbean rhythmic essence might imply kinship with Señor Coconut but the similarities are largely superficial, as Daedelus's experimental, collage-oriented sambas have little in common with Atom Heart's Latinized Kraftwerk and Deep Purple covers.

Denies The Day's Demise offers one surprise or another: “Nouveau Nova” sprays acid fever over driving Bossa Nova beats, a bass clarinet's froggy croak clears a path through raucous dance churn in “Bahia,” and the euphoric “Our Last Stand” plunges into a smeared synth swamp of blistered throbs and skittering thrum. “Like Clockwork Springs” boasts a larger arcade quotient than is typically heard in Daedelus's work but the bleepy cut shimmies and shakes jubilantly nonetheless. The swinging lounge cocktail “Lights Out” shows he hasn't wholly abandoned his hip-hop inclinations, while the tongue-in-cheek tomfoolery of “At My Heels” reveals he hasn't lost his sense of humour either; he even sings, serenading the listener home in the gentle closer “Viva Vida.” His music contains multitudes, sometimes to such a degree it threatens to collapse under its own weight (an excess of see-sawing orchestral samples in “Dreamt of Drowning,” for example) but the Latin dimension provides a consistent focus that helps stabilize the material. Not that Exquisite Corpse didn't impress, but Denies The Day's Demise seems the more natural fit, perhaps because the exotic dance elements seamlessly complement Daedelus's jones for old-school recordings. Brace yourself, though, for an exhausting trip as Weisberg-Roberts packs an avalanche of ideas into this captivating disc's 50 minutes.

September 2006