Santa Monica-based Daedelus is a representative of the new breed of bedroom artists, a cut-and-paste wizard with his thumb on the pulse of the future. His whimsical brand of abstract electronic is deeply nostalgic for bygone eras while maintaining a stunning originality that looks decades ahead.
Like the mythological story of Daedalus, the music of this modern day Daedelus comments wryly (if a bit obliquely) on humankind's foibles and follies. The Los Angeles bedroom electronic artist weaves strange and brilliant little wordless stories from wildly disparate sound sources: keyboard clacking and modem whine, ambient electronic noise, sampled strings, and organic sounds from nature. As abstract as his found sound compositions are, they possess a remarkable warmth and coherency.
That's largely because many of them are rooted in the misty-eyed nostalgia of bygone eras. Daedelus debuted in 2001 with the little heard Her's Is>[sic] on Phthalo Recordings, a breaks-filled hardcore electronic record as indebted to the likes of Satie, Cage, Mingus, and P-Funk as to his 21st century IDM peers. Soon after, his featured track "A Mashnote" appeared on Emperor Norton Dublab Presents: freeways compilation and he also graced a Tigerbeat6 comp.
Then in 2002 came Daedelus's acclaimed and aptly titled Plug Research album Invention, on which he crafted a unique aesthetic unlike any IDM artist before him -- in fact it almost seems rude to call him IDM, because as full of laptop glitchery as his compositions are, they're invariably rooted in the warmth of human feeling. Invention's syrupy pianos and big band horns often recalled Tin Pan Alley, while its spacey synth parts suggested '70s sci-fi soundtracks, and its broken beats, printer noises, toy pianos, and Omnichord (an electric harp) looked to the future of music composition. Invention also ventured into the hip hop arena, with SoCal MCs Busdriver and Sach displaying their vocal prowess on a couple of tracks.
The hip hop influence grew on 2003's The Quiet Party, a kind of super appendix to Invention, on which Daedelus turned over those genre-blurring tracks to an underground hip hop all-star cast including Busdriver, Madlib, High Priest from Anti Pop Consortium, and Abstract Rude. They turned in some swampy abstractions along the lines of DJ Shadow, some old school Tribe-style sensitive flow, and a quick hit of electro, alongside a brand new Daedelus tune called "A Touch of Spring" that merges a Latin rhythm with the riff from The Cure's "The Walk" in an utterly incongrous yet deeply compelling way that is emblematic of everything Daedelus is about.