Daedelus - Of Snowdonia
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Daedelus
Of Snowdonia

In only a short amount of time, Daedelus has released a bunch of different work at a rather prolific rate. In the past couple years, he's dropped not only two full lengths (on different labels), but several EPs and even several collaborative projects (including last years Dreams Of Water Themes Frosty of Dublab.com under the guise of Adventure Time). Of Snowdonia is the newest full-length for Daedelus, and it finds him taking even bigger steps forward in terms of his overall sound and skills.

Even without paying attention to the title of the release, the first thing I thought of when listening to this release was music that might be playing on the inside of a hyper-sophisticated snowglobe. That might sound a bit odd, but it mainly has to do with the fact that much of the album feels like it was pulled from dusty recordings of the past. Everything is slightly soft around the edges and there's a familiar and warm sound of hiss and crackles that pervades just about the entire release. While a majority of the release is on the downtempo tip, even when the beats burst loose (as they do several times), it feels like they're still just trying to stick in the grooves of old records.

The album is at its best when it's also at the oddest. "Aim True" skitters along with acoustic guitar and a stuttering beat over old school synths and accordion while vocals add another bizarre layer. The whole thing swirls into a semi-orchestral two-step that's just enough off-balance to make you feel woozy. "Shinkansen" is another track that shows Daedelus making more use of unique sounds, as the whole thing bristles with a mechanically filtered melody that is twined with warm electronics and a beat filtered so gritty it sounds like it was pulled off a mixtape laying on the side of a highway somewhere.

The middle of the album hits a real stride with "Telling Meaning," a great, cut-up jazz track (including torch singer vocals) and "Something Bells." Although the latter sounds like something Luke Vibert might have done on a good day (mixing slippery breakbeats and old vocal loops with filtered electronics and plucked guitar, it still manages to kick a nice little punch into things. "Was Waiting" might be a parallel universe hit-single, as it feels like what could have once been a pop track chopped up and repasted into a hopalong wonder that works quite well. Although there are a couple tracks that feel a little more like filler than anything else, this 13 track effort is definitely the most cohesive work to date by Daedelus. If you're a fan of his past work, you'll most likely enjoy it (although it doesn't feature any guest MCs), and if you like a lot of the work on the Ninja Tune label, this one would be right up your alley as well.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2004-03-18 00:00:00