Daedelus Live at Low End Theory

[Alpha Pup; 2008]

Styles:  electronic
Others: Frosty, Adventure Time, Deceptikon, Nobody, much of the Anticon, Hefty rosters, Pedro, Flying Lotus, Prefuse 73, Antimc

Disclosure: I don't make a habit of endorsing moguls of the electronic world; don't support ‘em neither. Some people might have the time to probe the inner delvings of the digital darlings, collecting Autechre imports and following Richard D. James' Analord project wayyyy too closely, to the exclusion of all else, but I don't. I choose instead to pluck what I can from the outskirts in hopes that I don't let too many butterflies through my extra-wide net. Sometimes I luck out and get in on the ground level (it was fun, Kid Spatula; don't you change) -- other times I hit the party when it's just dying down (damn, sorry Kid 606; can I get a ride home?).

In the case of Daedelus, I've definitely been Down From Day Uno (in fact a name-pronunciation debate started at college and still hasn't been fully squashed; I still say it's Day-Duh-Lus). His Adventure Time project was one of the first examples of jazz-y instrumental hip-hop I was privy to, and as a solo artist Daed sucker-punched me fuck-hard with Of Snowdonia and never stopped, rabbit-jabbing me with a few new releases just about every year. And, like the best pied pipers, he kept me following his trail by dropping new bread crumbs. After the seasonal mood swings of Snowdonia, he swung back with Exquisite Corpse, a guest-heavy hip-hop record, then put out a few EPs, followed by Daedelus Denies the Day's Demise, a jumpy, tough-to-pin-down record that perhaps best-solidified Alfred Weisberg-Roberts' work as Daedelus, dropping the album-length themes for an all-out assault of samples, loops, digital manipulation, and masterful beat-matching.

Live at Low End Theory consolidates the many sides of the Daedelus rainbow and lets its many colors shine with technicolor zeal. With the hazy trumpet blankets of "Disco, Disco, Disco," the Twink-ish piano lines of "Play it Again," and the MF Doom-ified, brain-wrapping linguistics of "Ready the End" popping out of the fray during its first half, this disc, recorded in July 2007, will easily beckon those already fascinated by all that is Daedelus. Even the shyest indie-knob couldn't go to a performance this captivating and keep his suede shoes unscuffed; even with a few of the tracks' convoluted nature, it's impossible not to Move-Move-Move to the Moosik, even if the beat will likely morph into something unrecognizable by the time it reaches the next stanza.

Many of Daedelus' excursions sound as if they were lifted straight from sing-a-long storybook tapes. There's a romantic vision floating around somewhere in his head like an old nursery rhyme, and it comes through his fingers and touches his music no matter how diverse his palette. He thoroughly hones in on the ear's pleasure zone through a combination of compositional prowess, ear for dynamics, and ability to keep the listener busy, and it always keeps my third eye scanning for elements I didn't hear the first time around. Whether Gumshoe approval alone (seeing as so many reviewers aren't yet sold on Daedelus) is enough in this topsy-turvy world of mile-a-minute music is debatable, but for what it's worth I couldn't be more happy with the twists and turns Weisberg-Roberts' career has taken, up to and including Live at Low End Theory.

Seriously, I wouldn't change a thing. Considering how many acts lose me after the second act, not to mention the third and fourth, Daedelus is in very select company, especially in the had-it-then-lost-it world of electronic music, a slippery, lotion-caked, floppy fish of a beast if there ever was one.

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