Alfred Darlington. Quite why you'd pick a pseudonym when you already have a name as incredible as Alfred Darlington at your disposal is a mystery, but then, it's one of many brilliantly odd things about both Daedelus and his ever-evolving music. From indie-tronica, to the deeply warped hip-hop of his "Exquisite Corpse" album, his MF Doom hook-up "Impending Doom" or his 2006 sample-tastic release on Mush, "Denies The Day's Demise", Daedelus has covered a huge amount of ground. Since signing with Ninja however, he's distinctly upped the tempo and applied his scattered, bricolage techniques to making electronic/dance music in his own idiosyncratic way. As a prelude to new album Bespoke, this first single features Canadian electronica producer (and former Plug Research labelmate) Milosh on the vocals and positively charges out of your speakers at a galloping 130bpm tempo. With a thick kick and a juke-like clap keeping time, a wave of samples gets slowly filtered up, much like the start of "Make It So", but even more bug-eyed and delirious. Short loops of urgent strings samples nestle up against tight bass hits, barber shop quartet backing harmonies, even guitar chanks that sound eerily like they've been sampled from Arabesque's "In The Heat Of A Disco Night". Milosh's languid vocals fit like a glove over this sea of soaring noise, as he takes time over each line and allows the melodies to float over the top of it all like a saxophone player playing a deliberately restrained solo. The whole thing reminds hugely of Radiohead's "Idioteque" but constructed with warm organic sounds rather than icy electronic ones. A Floating Points remix of "Tailor Made" is lined up for the future, which will no doubt be pretty special, and on the strength of this first single, Bespoke looks like being an essential purchase too.
It must be great to be Alfred Darlington. The tweed suits, the PG Wodehouse-esque name... all awesome. But what must be so extra lovely is the complete freedom he enjoys. In a musical way of course, not in a "eating a jar of Nutella for lunch" way. From indie-tronica, to the dank hip-hop of his Exquisite Corpse album, to his 2006 sample-fuelled Denies The Day's Demise LP, Daedelus has covered a huge amount of ground already in his career. His move to Ninja for 2008's Love To Make Music By saw another sea change - a concerted application of house music tempos and instrumentation to his scattergun songwriting that resulted in the wonderful Make It So single and a brace of highly engaging hypnogogic mindfucks. Bespoke picks up from those learned lessons, but this time he's created an even wider scope for himself. His distinctively choppy production style lends itself to having 3 or 4 competing styles going on at any one time, in the manner of Japanese Pico-Pop artists like Plus-Tech Squeeze Box. "What Can You Do" featuring Busdriver is a case in point - though underscored by a simple kick "n' clap, the sheer crazed randomness of his drum sequences opens the space up to allow things like clarinets, acid-pianos and torch song vocals to actually sound normal working together. The mythological Daedelus was well aware of the dangers of flying too close to the sun. As Bespoke proves, the more lifelike version should never be subject to any such constraints.