Alfred Darlington has been an influential part of the electronic scene for 15 years now. As Daedelus, he’s released 16 full-lengths and 13 EPs on labels like Ninja Tune and Brainfeeder, worked alongside artist like Busdriver and The Gaslamp Killer, and remixed everyone from Flying Lotus to Open Mike Eagle. But as impactful as he’s been in EDM, he’s found himself disenfranchised with the genre’s current state.
“There has always been a tension between an overground and underground,” Daedelus explains to Consequence of Sound. “Some ascending through the rankle to choose one side or the other, but now we are without edges. When Chance [the Rapper] or Frank [Ocean] have no label but are perceived to be sitting atop the world, we are without Pop (in the traditional sense), and equally when those shooting stars that are flash-bang grenades choose to go off without a sound, but rather all spectacle — that is marketing campaigns, snaps, and video experiences — well we are without an Underground resistance.”
That’s why Daedelus decided to release his latest LP, Labyrinths, on his own Magical Properties imprint. He’s chosen to navigate the winding maze of EDM music on his own terms, leading to an album that confronts the flaws in the genre “with style rather than cynicism.” Songs like “Aries” with Teebs and Bass Sekolah and “Setting Out” with Amir Yahmai utilize an almost zen-like restraint, resting in the beautiful complexity that can be found in electronica. Meanwhile, “Minotaur” (featuring Zeroh) and “In Your Hands” (featuring Busdriver and Mousey McGlynn) demonstrate how to put together a hard-hitting track without being bombastic about it.
Labyrinths is a powerful rejoinder to the scene, one that reminds it of the promises that have always been at its core. Daedelus will issue his response when the LP drops on October 28th, but you can stream it in advance below.
Below, find the Labyrinths artwork and tracklist — which also features guest appearances by Vōx and Darlington’s wife, Laura — followed by Daedelus’ full statement on the record. You can also head here to snag one of two limited edition Dome of Doom cassette versions: a standard one (limited to 200 copies) and a “Baked Tape Session” one that manipulates the music through additional digital and analog processing.
Labyrinths Album Artwork:
01. Aries (feat. Bass Sekolah & Teebs)
02. Tussle (feat. Seven Davis Jr.)
03. Special RE: Quest
05. Setting Out (feat. Amir Yaghmai)
06. Minotaur (feat. Zeroh)
07. In Your Hands (feat. Busdriver & Mousey McGlynn)
08. Keeps Fires Burning (feat. Vōx)
09. A Maze Amazing
10. Crime Of Passion (feat. Laura Darlington)
11. War Drums
12. Hold Sway
Daedelus on Labyrinths:
“If I can relate the challenge in this moment. There has always been a tension between an overground and underground. Some ascending through the rankle to choose one side or the other, but now we are without edges. When Chance or Frank have no label but are perceived to be sitting atop the world we are without Pop (in the traditional sense), and equally when those shooting stars that are flash-bang grenades choose to go off without a sound, but rather all spectacle — that is marketing campaigns, snaps, and video experiences — well we are without an Underground resistance.
I don’t fit in, not my EDM world. The homogeny of pretty faces on stage with their pantomime dj sets. I shouldn’t be spoken in the same breath, and there are ears out there who want other breaths to breathe. I’m lost a bit, but not deterred. My heroes are now those who’ve weathered great upheaval, the Björks and Stereolabs, as well as the SoundCloud masses who avoid just posting another edit or lazy remix and, with no followers, make masterpieces.
The alt-right-rave environment needs a do over / major course correction or else it’s not going to weather the IPO/cake storms. Good thing we didn’t need it anyway. What’s going on in warehouses, dive bars, and barns, has always been more interesting. This great confusion will make some good art, that we can be sure.”