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Los Angeles-based musician Daedelus (Alfred Darlington) is highly esteemed for their inventive sample-based compositions and energetic live performances. A longtime DJ for online radio station Dublab, Daedelus embodies the open-minded spirit of the L.A. music scene and is equally comfortable working with left-field rappers like MF Doom and Mike Ladd as well as contemporary jazz ensembles such as Kneebody. Initially surfacing with more experimental albums such as 2002's Invention, which blended vintage jazz samples with sideways breakbeats, their music ventured into abstract hip-hop on releases like 2003's The Weather (a collaboration with Busdriver and Radioinactive) and 2005's Exquisite Corpse. Subsequent releases such as 2008's Love to Make Music To and 2011's Bespoke were more romantic and song-based, while albums like 2014's The Light Brigade and 2018's Taut focused on dreamy, downtempo grooves. 2020's What Wands Won't Break contained mutated club tracks similar to Daedelus' live sets, and 2023's Xenopocene explored extraterrestrial themes. Born Alfred Weisberg-Roberts in Santa Monica, California, producer/instrumentalist Daedelus wanted to be an inventor from an early age, a sentiment that led to them choosing an artistic moniker when they began releasing their own work. (In Greek mythology, Daedalus was known as an inventor, although the producer also cites the character Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the ship in the Japanese cartoon Robotech as equally valid reasons for their selection.) Despite the fact that they were formally trained on double bass and bass clarinet, had studied jazz at USC, and could play additional instruments such as the guitar and accordion, Daedelus chose to go the electronica route, often incorporating samples from the 1930s and '40s into their IDM and left-field hip-hop. Daedelus made their debut in 2001 with the hip-hop-influenced Portrait of the Artist EP and a Dublab-issued split single with Mia Doi Todd, as well as Her's Is > [sic], a Scanner-like experimental full-length constructed from found sounds such as phone calls. However, it was their second album, 2002's Invention (on Plug Research), that put them on the map. The Quiet Party EP, featuring remixes by Madlib and High Priest, soon followed. In 2003, they collaborated with Busdriver and Radioinactive on the experimental hip-hop album The Weather, which was soon followed by its reworked instrumental counterpart, Rethinking the Weather, both on Mush Records. The more downtempo Household EP appeared on Prefuse 73's Eastern Developments that year. In 2004, the increasingly prolific artist released the jungle-inspired Meanwhile EP and A Gent Agent full-length on Laboratory Instinct, and Of Snowdonia on Plug Research. Additionally, they were sampled by Madvillain on the song "Accordion," and later appeared in the song's music video. They returned to Mush in the United States (while signing with Ninja Tune in the U.K.) with 2005's Exquisite Corpse, which featured guest rappers like MF Doom, TTC, and Cyne. Denies the Day's Demise followed in 2006, incorporating the artist's own dapper vocals on a few tunes. The harder-edged Axe Murderation EP, featuring remixes by Venetian Snares and Eight Frozen Modules, appeared on early home Phthalo Records in 2007. By this point, Daedelus (now known by the surname Darlington) had become highly praised for their inventive, engaging live performances, which utilize a colorful, grid-based controller called a Monome. Live at Low End Theory, recorded during a July 2007 performance at Los Angeles' The Airliner, was released by Alpha Pup in early 2008. The upbeat Love to Make Music To, which mixed twisted funk with bits of psychedelic pop, soul, and rap, followed on Ninja Tune in July. The following year, Daedelus and their wife, Laura Darlington, released an eponymous album of acoustic, bossa nova-influenced pop as the Long Lost. Righteous Fists of Harmony, issued in 2010, was released on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label. In 2011, Ninja Tune released the ambitious Bespoke, which found Daedelus working with a long list of guest vocalists, including Will Wiesenfeld (Baths), Inara George of the Bird and the Bee, and a then-unknown Kelela. The producer's 2013 effort, Drown Out, appeared on Anticon and featured no guest vocalists, and while The Light Brigade from 2014 was mostly instrumental, the Brainfeeder release did feature an appearance from Young Dad's vocalist Jason Galle. A year later, Daedelus teamed with the L.A.-based experimental instrumental ensemble Kneebody for the collaborative LP Kneedelus. Labyrinths was issued as a cassette by Dome of Doom in 2016 before Japanese label Astrollage issued it on CD in 2017. That year, Fat Beats also released Baker's Dozen: Daedelus, the fifth installment in their popular, highly detailed and exclusive vinyl series. The lush, trippy full-length Taut followed in 2018. The Bittereinders (2019) concluded Daedelus' trilogy of solo releases on Brainfeeder; all three recordings were then issued as the limited vinyl box set End of Empire. What Wands Won't Break, an explosive set of abstract club rhythms, appeared on Dome of Doom in 2020, with What Wands Remixes following shortly after. Holy Water Over Sons, a collaboration with London-based poet Joshua Idehen, was released in 2021. The more beat-heavy Simmers Over appeared in 2022. In 2023, Daedelus released Xenopocene, a more orchestral-influenced album featuring violinist Vivek Menon and guest appearances by R.A.P. Ferreira and the Breathing Effect. Daedelus also guested on Tuscan Junk Food's song "Fourth Third Twenty Three."
© Marisa Brown & Paul Simpson /TiVo


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