A fantastic new set from the LA producer, guaranteed to spread good cheer.
Mike Diver 2011-04-04
Daedelus, aka Alfred Darlington, says of the title of this new collection, the Ninja Tune follow-up to 2008’s awesomely upbeat Love to Make Music To: "I not only intended it as a reflection of the LP itself, but also an outlook on life". Deep, dude. But one can put Darlington’s obsession with archaic fashion of the Victorian era to one side when assessing this 11-track set – as, just like previous long-players from the Los Angeles producer, it’s a future-nudging collection that complements the best of today with sounds coming to a chart near you around 2014. It is tailor-made, indeed, for today’s demand-more dance crowd, in a style that few artists are capable of.
The most striking development is the employment of no fewer than seven guest vocalists, whose wildly different techniques should culminate in an end product that’s disjointed to the point of ridiculousness. While Darlington has welcomed singers into the studio in the past, he’s never skipped from Inara George to Bilal, via Baths, on the same LP. But any fears of disharmony from track to track are cast to the wind once the album has run its course for the very first time: this is sublime fare, and the vocalists are used on cuts that best fit their own approaches. So Baths – aka fellow LA resident Will Wiesenfeld – appears across the slippery FlyLo-echoing beats of French Cuffs, which manages to be urgent yet simultaneously chilled without space time imploding; and Bilal turns up on the wonderfully wobbly Overwhelmed, lending soulful tones to a track with eastern-tinged percussion which could be the work of Skream if he’d grown up in Chennai rather than Croydon.
The instrumentals don’t suffer for the quality of the vocal work around them – while slighter of form, typically, they’re essential to the flow of an LP which does hold together surprisingly well as a full listen, despite its myriad constituents. Sew, Darn, Mend and Suit Yourself, clearly titled to fit the theme of the record, are shiny numbers which skitter and slide like the finest past work of this talented beat-crafter; the funky coda to the latter is one of the record’s many surprises, a teeny bonus treat within several already sumptuous offerings. In short, then: another fantastically enjoyable album from an artist whose modus operandi, above anything else, seems to be ensuring his audience is having the best possible time. Many a self-absorbed peer should take note.