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Love to Make Music To (Ninja Tune)

Wednesday, Sep 3 2008

On Love to Make Music To, Daedelus' point of departure is the early '90s – specifically, rave culture's big awakening and the last of hip-hop's golden age. The dandified Los Angeles DJ establishes the album's breakbeat fixation with opener "Fair Weather Friends," a funky anthem Nike could've used to sell Air Jordans to club kids. Meanwhile, "I Took Two" dusts off Lyn Collins' "Think (About It)," the staple sample of house rap, made famous by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's immortal '88 jam "It Takes Two." Though Daedelus sticks close to such period references, his melodic whimsy and clipped rhythms push the songs past mere pastiche. The half-dozen tracks featuring vocals — including standouts "Touchstone" (with Paperboy and Taz Arnold) and "If We Should" (sung by Daedelus' wife, Laura Darling) — especially benefit from his synth leads, which warble alongside the lyrics' druggy imagery.

Like Daedelus' earlier efforts, Love manages an engaging handmade electronic sound. "Twist the Kids" (featuring Australian rapper N'fa) exposes the fail-safe strategy: Begin with a crackling old-school beat, swirl an array of woozy synths and samples on top, and bomb the bass into oblivion. The result? Historical revisionism at its most bumpin'.

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Andrew Stout


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