•• Daedelus @ Cargo, London, 26 August 2005
•• Published: SoundsXP, September 2005
•• Original article: http://www.soundsxp.com/2295.shtml

Underneath the arches in East London's Cargo, Daedelus arrives on stage wearing shirt, skinny tie and what looks like a deep red, ring-keeper’s jacket taken from the local circus. Perhaps a veiled statement of his intentions to entertain the attentive crowd he finds before him or, more likely, an expression of his apparent penchant for Edwardian clothing.

While his outfit is flamboyant his demeanor is slightly introverted, hiding behind his floppy fringe and sideburns. The way he throws himself into tweaking every layer of sound through laptop and a magic box with a hundred flashing lights on it seems to be a way of not just creating a rich aural broth but also staving off his nerves. The music is anything but muted and every bit as eccentric as his outfit however. Layer upon layer of beats, samples from the thirties and forties, fluted melodies and kitsch, old-fashioned strings form a collage of sound where shapes nearly form but then disintegrate like sonic waves crashing on a pebble beach.

The calmer moments accompanied by scrapes, scratches, glitches and ticking cymbals are reminiscent of Four Tet’s disturbed reverie but this is a deeper, richer journey into the outer reaches of electronica. There may be aspects of DJ Shadow’s cut and paste instrumental hiphop but there is so much being frantically pasted in such freeform style you feel almost dizzy taking it all in. At one point it descends into a manic racket that sounds like a malfunctioning fairground carousel but, while it may not always be easy listening, it never descends into dismissible abstract nonsense. There are always softer, more accessible moments that ensure the music retains an element of form and warmth.

The crowd nod, shake and gently convulse as rhythms and beats fade in and out, buoyed at one point by a deep dub bassline, and then it is time for the finale, Fallen Love. It stirs, swings and swoons with its happily melancholic strings and sweetly romantic, old-fashioned vocal sample and then falls into the background. A two second snatch of an eighties tune and a wisp of melody and Daedelus makes his way off stage with a bashful wave. The LA-based producer’s beat mangling and kitchen sink throwing may guarantee a challenge but it is definitely a welcome one as he mesmerises, confuses and playfully toys with the boundaries of music.

Ninja Tune's KeepInTime launch night continues with DJ Food and DK offering up 808 State, ELO and a surprisingly good drum and bass remix of Mirror In The Bathroom while revered turntablist DJ Rocc plays James Brown alongside old acid and hiphop. It’s all good fun and fantastic to dance to on the rammed dancefloor but it’s the American in the Edwardian get-up who leaves a truly lasting impression.

- Ian Roullier, 08/2005
Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014