Daring Daedelus

Shifty electronics define Alfred Darlington's wizardry

Los Angeles laptop wunderkind Alfred Darlington, better known as Daedelus, is something of a knob-twiddling wisecracker in a genre known for being fairly stodgy. His albums reveal an assemblage of textured beats never lacking for musical mirth as they skirt the line between hip hop, experimental ambient, Tropicalia, and kitschy lounge.

Clearly, Daedelus' music eschews category. "Genres are wonderful metaphors," says Darlington via e-mail, "little hints at what's possible, hopefully the best of what has been. To connect with one of those music moments for a brief few refrains is my goal — something that isn't always planned." Last year's Denies the Day's Demise captures this freewheeling spirit, as acid bass and playful techno collide with what sounds like samples from 75-cent thrift-store records. "I am delirious in sounds," explains Darlington. "Whatever source seems evocative should be fair game. Sampling is more an attitude, since all sound is manipulated at some level during the creative process nowadays."

Although he's influenced by "rave sounds of the early '90s," Darlington isn't interested in imitation. "This latest crop of electronic musicians seem to prize exciting music, loud flashes of melody, strong genre pieces, and deceptive beats, no matter the tempo employed," he says. "Seems "legit' means "safe' nowadays." These terms certainly don't apply to his output, including 2003's The Weather, a collaborative effort with boundary-pushing MCs Busdriver and Radioinactive. "Hip hop has always been, to me, more an attitude, rebel music, perfect loops that don't seem to repeat," he explains.

Daedelus and dog.
Daedelus and dog.

Darlington's sense of humor and penchant for experimentation will be on display at the Plug Research night of the Mission Creek Music Festival. In the company of labelmates Mia Doi Todd, Flying Lotus, and Radius, he'll craft a sturdy pair of wings for his mad musical exchange.

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