The song titles partially give it away—”Bahia,” “Samba Legrand,” “Nouveau Nova,” “Petite Samba.” Much in the same way that Los Angeles’s Daedelus sprinkled his magic dust upon hip-hop in Exquisite Corpse, he takes on exotica with similar aplomb, turning an existing genre into something that could only come from the strange and beautiful mind of Alfred Weisberg-Roberts. And, much like his previous records, everything is twinkly and surreal, as if having taken place in a dream.
Denies the Day’s Demise, therefore, is a dubious title. This album doesn’t struggle to hold on to the sunlight of Southern California, it emits a welcome message to the Land of Nod. The album’s artwork even features artwork by Winsor McCay, the legendary creator of Little Nemo. As Of Snowdonia did similarly, Demise contains ongoing samples of old-time Hollywood romanticism, big band arrangements and lounge music. But this album dips further into the well of Jobim and Denny, songs like “Lights Out” offering a groovy, lava lamp and Tiki God atmosphere in which to sip tropical cocktails.
Curiously enough, the parts of the record that aren’t enveloped in dewy-eyed nostalgia, romantic extravagance and sexy sambas are steeped in more straightforward techno sounds. “Like Clockwork Springs” is an analog synth bopper that almost sounds like an instrumental Postal Service cut. “Bahia” features some odd, R2D2 sounds atop its South American rhythms. And “Samba Legrand” almost sounds like a Cuban dance club and a rave battling it out for sonic dominance. Still, despite the idiosyncrasies and seemingly discordant elements, Demise feels more like a cohesive whole than Exquisite Corpse, mainly because of its instrumental nature, Daedelus keeping a (loose) rein on the material without an added guest to add any further confusion.
Still, those accustomed to the swooning strings and jazzy samples may find these new synthetic melodies a little hard to get behind. But Daedelus never succumbs to lowbrow techno looping, consistently keeping his songs as imaginative and unpredictable as possible. A song like “Our Last Stand,” for instance, is like Aphex Twin learning to craft a catchy single. And that it’s followed by a swingin’ exotic number like “Patent Pending” only adds to the curious nature of the album. Always refusing to remain stagnant, Daedelus once again takes a winding path through a dreamlike atmosphere in search of new and surprising tones. It’s a strange and fantastic place, one that Weisberg-Roberts has been so generous enough to let us experience while awake.
Amon Tobin – Bricolage
DJ Food – Kaleidoscope
Prefuse 73 – Security Screenings
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.