Spoken Like a Gentleman
Everyone’s favorite 1800s styled DJ is back with a brand new album. Even after recently starting his own Magical Properties label, Alfred Darlington releases this new album with his old friends at Ninja Tune while recording songs with several of his label mates as well as new friends. It is clear that Alfred had been busy listening and drawing inspiration from a wide variety of music since 2010’s Righteous Fists of Harmony, not to mention busy with his growing list of side projects like Adventure Time and The Long Lost. As a result, Bespoke is a well-traveled album.
A fast-paced bombardment of pulsing sound is the first thing you hear on “Tailor-Made,” the first track of the album featuring vocals by the soft-spoken-yet-inaudible Milosh (Plug Research). In a very conflicting style, the next song, “Sew, Darn, Mend,” has an 8-bit feel to it while preserving Daedelus’ Intelligent Dance Music fashion. In a sigh of relief, the third song in, “Penny Loafers,” is a return to mellow “grin-and-bob-your-head” classic Daedelus that won our hearts, accompanied by the lovely vocals of Inara George (The Bird and The Bee).
All that the song “Suit Yourself” is missing is soothing bass vocals and gratuitous innuendo and one would think it is modern day Barry White jam. This leads well into “What can you do?” which includes a quick tempo, old school disco beats and Busdriver (Epitaph) singing, not rapping, but singing. “In Tatters” slows it down again with meandering leads and dreamy vocals, which builds up to a crescendo on the following song, “Slowercase D,” where hundreds of sounds stretch, wobble, pulse and finally collide in an anti-climatic fade-out. The last song on Bespoke is “Overwhelmed” and it begins with an atypical dub wobble worked into drums and arpeggiated keys while Bilal (Soulquarians) takes the mic here, if for only a moment.
Bespoke is short and sweet; almost teasingly so. Daedelus is all over the charts here and refuses to conform to a solitary style. On one hand, it’s nice to hear Alfred’s attempt at some faster dance tracks, but on the other, this album will have you longing for the days of Fair Weather Friends. Daedelus’ music has always been esoteric, and Bespoke is no exception. Fans won’t want to miss this, but if experimental music isn’t your thing, stay far away.