Daedelus: A Gent Agent
Laboratory Instinct

The recent Of Snowdonia showcased Daedelus's deft hand with a sampler, not to mention his eclectic choice of source material, but the wild A Gent Agent now finds him adding dirty hip-hop and jungle beats to his old samples of easy-listening choruses, gentle pianos, and silken classical strings. The album's thirteen collagistic tracks sometimes go overboard—adding fragments of “God Only Knows,” for example, to the closing seconds of the cacophonous “Desperate Measures” seems excessive—but such moments are leavened by the manic junglisms and acid synths of “Cloak And Dagger” and the heavy hip-hop beats and furious vinyl scratching in “Amscray.” On “Escape Artist,” things get truly crazed when Daedelus alternates a female singer with Charlie Parker saxophone playing while drum and bass beats churn underneath. In general, A Gent Agent inhabits stylistic territory shared by Amon Tobin, Squarepusher, and even Anticon, judging by the dense instrumental hip-hop of “a.k.a. Also Know As.” Song titles like “Femme Fatale” and “Turncoats In Tourniquets” allude to a noir-flavoured espionage theme but it's Daedelus's signature juxtapositions of crackling samples and noisy beats which make the more lasting impression.

August 2004