This week’s Get Stung brings the same vocal hypnosis as last week, plus one steampunk beard.
Santa Monica’s Alfred Darlington aka Daedelus (pronounced DED-uh-luss) is an artist I gave up on years ago, but he just won me back like The Graduate.
I was introduced to Daed by way of XLR8R TV around the time he released 2008’s Love To Make Music To on Ninja Tune. He was one of the first producers I saw using a button controller–his being the experimental Monome–and I didn’t like what I was hearing. It sounded jumbled. There were too many sounds going on at once and too many loops falling over each other.
2005’s Exquisite Corpse was like listening to a party of guests all walk through the front door at the same time, tripping over each other and immediately apologizing for three minutes and thirty seconds. I kept Exquisite Corpse and Invention on my iPod until finally giving in to the truth that I didn’t vibe with his music. This is hard to do when I know there’s a diamond in the rough that I’m just not seeing.
I started avoiding Daedelus like I would avoid a shopping mall vendor pitching me a glittery iPhone case. If I came across his name online, I skimmed past it and clicked the next link, remembering all of the confusion I felt from his music. I blamed his instrument.
Fast forward a few short years and notable users of Daedelus‘ Monome now include Imogen Heap–ugh, I better untie my shoe–DeadMau5–holding my foot now with both hands–and Flying Lotus. I’ve put my foot in my mouth now, with steak sauce. Daedelus even went on tour with Madvillain and J Dilla using his Monome.
Daed has the last laugh, and that’s due to his pioneer choice of production equipment. His contemporary Araabmuzik uses the Monome’s percussive cousin, the Akai drumpad, to innovate a lightning fast, skill driven way to play live. I’ve begun to witness the endless potential of this sensitive equipment.
Why does it matter if some industry badasses use Daedelus’ weird fluorescent instrument?
Because Daedelus is grabbing our mushy, emotional insides the way Flying Lotus once did with his Monome. “Curtains Don’t Talk” gets intimate as a tornado while remaining gentle like a sheep, and it’s magic to listen to. The pull of this song is in its vocal samples, which XLR8R guesses to be warped Janet Jackson words atop a perforated Beach Boys harmony.
Like any other Daedelus joint, the sounds of “Curtains Don’t Talk” were formed with time, toil and care before Alfred programmed them into his Monome. Then he twisted all the right knobs, pressed all the right buttons in sequence, and as a bonus, the buttons glow like Lite-Brite when he plays it live.
“Curtains Don’t Talk” is a fine slice not because of its associated album art, eccentrically dressed composer or its accurate representation of some Monome, Akai or MIDI controller “scene.” It’s nice because of the way it sounds. I can’t wait to put Daedelus back on my iPod.
The track feels like you’re twelve years old at your school dance and everything is going your way. Busting moves in the middle while your whole class cheers you on. A Lite-Brite did that.