Por­trait of the artist as a young beauty in­ven­tor

Pasatiempo - - On-stage This Week - Paul Wei­de­man

I usu­ally look for some­one who’s danc­ing re­ally well, if it’s a danc­ing kind of crowd, and then I’ll play to that per­son.

Here comes Daedelus (aka Al­fred Dar­ling­ton, born Al­fred Weis­berg-Roberts) to make mu­sic in Santa Fe. Daedelus is a re­ally mod­ern kind of mu­si­cian, us­ing the Monome, a con­troller of sound sam­ples and other dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion, in his con­certs. How­ever, he pri­or­i­tizes melody and even beauty over the overtly “elec­tronic.”

He be­gan record­ing as Daedelus in 2001. Love to Make Mu­sic To, re­leased in 2008, was his sev­enth full-length stu­dio disc. On it are 15 tracks of mar­velously vary­ing fla­vors: “Fair Weather Friends” is catchy, “As­sem­bly Lines” is dreamy but has an aura of dis­con­nect­ed­ness, and “Hrs: Mins: Secs” is dark and ma­chine­like. Other tracks in­clude vo­cals (hip-hop and oth­er­wise) by Taz Arnold, Pa­per­boy, and Erika Rose.

Daedelus plays at Co­razón on Fri­day, March 12. Also on the bill are drum­mer/DJ Feather­icci (Paul Groet­zinger) and bassist Diplo­mat (Brian May­hall), who make up the band Ray Charles Ives; and DJ Ba­con (Ben Wright). Pasatiempo found Daedelus at the other end of a tele­phone line in Los An­ge­les.

Pasatiempo: When you were younger you wanted to be an in­ven­tor, and now you’re sort of do­ing that with mu­sic. Daedelus: Un­for­tu­nately, I do feel quite the failed in­ven­tor, but it’s nice that in this day and age we can have sur­ro­gate ca­reers to kind of do the same thing.

Pasa: You cre­ate such splen­did sounds and songs. Where do the ideas come from?

Daedelus: It’s all kinds of places. One of my big­gest in­spi­ra­tions in terms of mu­sic is the film com­posers from the ’50s and ’ 60s. I re­ally like the idea of mak­ing mu­sic, or mak­ing some­thing, for sit­u­a­tions. I re­ally like the idea of emo­tion in mu­sic. Cer­tainly clas­si­cal mu­si­cians used to do it quite well and a lot of jazz com­posers have, but in terms of mod­ern pop mu­sic it’s pretty mono­tone: it’s ei­ther a “break­ing up with my boyfriend/girl­friend” song or an “I want to party all night” song.

If you have in­stru­men­tal mu­sic, there’s al­most a space for peo­ple to fill in the blanks. Or if you do have vo­cals, if you’re ma­nip­u­lat­ing them and play­ing them against them­selves, I think there’s a lot of room for fan­tasy, and that’s a big goal for me, to keep it fan­tas­tic, keep it in­ter­est­ing for my­self and maybe for oth­ers.

Pasa: Do your in­spi­ra­tions in­clude the old ones like Tan­ger­ine Dream and Jon Has­sel and Brian Eno or even Clara Rockmore?

Daedelus: Clara Rockmore is amaz­ing, but some of the am­bi­ent artists ... to me they were echo­ing a lot of what was go­ing on in clas­si­cal mu­sic at the turn of cen­tury, tak­ing up maybe where Satie left off and some of what Ravel was do­ing. It’s cool but I al­most get the sense that they were so into tech­nol­ogy and di­vorced from what the notes could mean, they missed out on some­thing. Also, I’m a sam­pling artist. I love this kind of stuff where you can bor­row into other decades, take the best or worse of what­ever the mo­ment was and make it your own, hope­fully.

Pasa: Do you spend a lot of time farm­ing found sounds, or do you have a huge in­ven­tory from do­ing that in the past that you can use now as sam­ples?

Daedelus: Well, I do find that if I dip back into the au­dio record­ings I’ve made or the records I’ve bought, it’s al­most like bor­row­ing into an old mind-set, so it’s al­most like you have to con­stantly re­fresh in or­der

to be mov­ing for­ward. For ex­am­ple, my record De­nies the Day’s Demise was very much based on the idea of Brazil­ian mu­sic, and if I went back to Brazil­ian records now, I think I’d be mak­ing an­other song for De­nies

the Day’s Demise rather than mak­ing a new record. I’m al­ways looking for a new epoch or a new era or found sounds to work with. It keeps me ask­ing ques­tions, which I en­joy. I re­ally en­joy the act of mak­ing mu­sic as much as lis­ten­ing or play­ing it live.

Pasa: Do you still play the ac­cor­dion or the bass clar­inet, ei­ther live or to gen­er­ate sam­ples?

Daedelus: I do play the bass clar­inet of­ten and the dou­ble bass oc­ca­sion­ally. The ac­cor­dion has a real pres­ence, and I have a harder time bend­ing it out of con­text, which is half the fun. Pasa: Ev­ery­body maybe thinks of Ir­ish folk mu­sic and Fellini films. Daedelus: Yeah, and that’s the power of many of th­ese in­stru­ments, that they have a res­o­nance with peo­ple, and you can toy with their ideas. You can make the in­stru­ment feel un­like it­self. I used ac­cor­dion for a hip-hop track, which was fun, but it makes it hard to use it again for a hip-hop track. Pasa: Un­less you use if for ev­ery hip-hop track from now on. Daedelus: I think you’ve got some­thing there. Pasa: Are you bring­ing your Monome to Santa Fe? Daedelus: Ab­so­lutely. That’s my main form of live ex­pres­sion. I love it to death.

Pasa: How does that work? Can you put new sounds into the Monome all the time?

Daedelus: Yes. It’s an open-source mu­si­cal de­vice. It’s funny, be­cause we’re in such an open-source world nowa­days— all the soft­ware is bend­able to your whim— and you’d imag­ine that hard­ware would be the same way, but it’s re­ally not the case, un­for­tu­nately. All th­ese con­trollers, key­boards, and pads and drum kits that al­low you to in­ter­act with the com­puter are not re­ally per­son­al­iz­able. Over time I’ve been able to work with pro­gram­mers and other re­ally tal­ented peo­ple to make it so this ma­chine ex­presses my ends, and it has an open enough struc­ture that peo­ple, even if they have no mu­si­cal back­ground, can see me play­ing it and can un­der­stand what I’m do­ing.

Even if I knew all the sounds, the way the Monome op­er­ates al­lows a lot of room for both es­capism and cross-pol­li­na­tion be­tween sam­ples, be­cause I can have 15 sam­ples go­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously. It’s funny be­cause all this stuff is tech­ni­cally pos­si­ble but one of the things I’m most proud of is the fact it’s still fin­gers on but­tons, like a pi­ano. A lot of peo­ple be­come dis­il­lu­sioned with elec­tronic mu­sic, which I’d pre­dom­i­nantly say I do, be­cause of how au­to­matic it can be, how un­rea­son­ably ex­pec­ta­tional it can be. That’s go­ing against the ba­sic tenet of keep­ing won­der and awe as part of the ex­pe­ri­ence. Pasa: Do you do live sam­pling?

Daedelus: I can but I don’t do it very of­ten. I re­ally want peo­ple in the au­di­ence to feel like they’re in­volved, but I re­ally find that it adds a level of chaos to things that makes it a lit­tle less mu­si­cal.

I prize the fact that on a given night, if the au­di­ence wants to be up, we go up. As much as I try to look at ev­ery­body, I usu­ally look for some­one who’s danc­ing re­ally well, if it’s a danc­ing kind of crowd, and then I’ll play to that per­son. Pasa: Your mu­sic is many things, but you are mak­ing beauty.

Daedelus: Thank you. I think it’s very easy to over­look to­day, as if beauty is just one of many shad­able com­po­nents.


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