Wading neck-deep among sweat-lodged Diplo fans never seemed so calm. It was almost surreal, given the blasts of bass and laser lights that engulfed the populace inside the main stage, dubbed Treble Frequency, at the height of San Bernardino’s Audiotistic electronic music festival this weekend. But in the grips of big beat Armageddon, the threat of being thrashed around like a rag doll was the last thing ruminating in the minds of fist-pumping fans.
As the sound raged, two bikini-clad women in fox-colored spirit animal hoodies ducked in the middle of the herd to absorb a swirl of neon lights on the fingertips of a fellow raver, unafraid of being trampled by anything except sensory overload. Aboveground, Diplo’s squinted eyes surveyed the crowd as he smirked and cranked up the dials.
By the time it was his turn to step up to the Gobi stage Saturday, Daedelus had publicly confessed, and apologized, for his all-but-lost voice. That's what happens when you spend all day Friday screaming while your favorite bands perform. On more than several occasions, L.A.'s sideburned beatsmith traipsed the Polo Field with his wife-collaborator, singer Laura Darlington, like any other fan.
Luckily for him and his voice, the man born Alfred Weisberg-Roberts (though he prefers Alfred Darlington) let his tech toys, rhythms and sound sculpture do the talking. And don't let that flashy, Willy Wonka/steampunk presence fool you: The man is far from a showboat. In fact, the lynchpin of his late-night set involved a rotating background full of mirrors reflecting away from him and onto the crowd.
Just after midnight, a dapper-dressed Daedelus faced the Gobi masses, hands squarely placed on his laptops, monomes and other miscellaneous gadgets. Not only did the flashing mirrors twist the fans' perspective upside down, but they also signified one of Daedelus' main goals: Turn any genre on its head and kick it around a bit. For R&B fans, the 33-year-old reconfigured rhythms from Al Green's "Still in Love With You" and Ne-Yo's "Say It" to make them rave-appropriate.
By the same token, he was quick to turn the sonic scalpel on his own stuff, making some notably eloquent brushstrokes to new material such as "Tailor-Made," a single from his album "Bespoke," to be released on Ninja Tune on April 26.
-- Nate Jackson
Though Mono/Poly is one of the artists closely affiliated with the Brainfeeder/Alpha Pup axis, it was only a matter of time before Los Angeles' burgeoning beat community started to be mined by other imprints. The new kid on the block is Proximal Records, a label formed by L.A. natives Carl Madison Burgin (who records under the name Sahy Uhns) and composer-producer Jeff Elmassian.
With a mission statement dedicated to "supporting and promoting vibrant new voices in the local
electronic music community," the label's first official compilation, "Proximity One: Narrative of a City," reveals its raison d'etre in its title. Attempting to weave a narrative thread through the diversity of the city's beat scene, the Proximal posse enlists everyone from Low End Theory staples Dr. Strangeloop, Take, Teebs and Tokimonsta, to scene veterans Dam-Funk and Daedelus, to some of the brightest stars of the next generation, including Shlohmo and Juj.
Naturally, the compilation showcases the talent on the Proximal roster, with Sahy Uhns, Benedek, Lawrence Grey, Wake and Bear Claw acquitting themselves admirably in the face of severe competition. While several of the scene's heaviest hitters are absent (Flying Lotus, the Gaslamp Killer, Nosaj Thing, Mono/Poly), Proximal does an impressive job of surveying the ever-shifting landscape to provide a bluffer's guide for those unaware of the dialogue between J Dilla and dubstep that's been taking place over the last three years.
Proximal will be throwing a release party on Aug. 5 at the Echo, with promises of special guests and performances from the label's core: Benedek, Lawrence Grey, Sahy Uhns. The headliner will be Daedelus, and in advance of the performance, Proximal is premiering an exclusive MP3 of Alfred Darlington's "Off Angles Edges," a track that glows and glides like a Chicago house track slowed down and forced to blunt-cruise in the far right lane of the Santa Monica Freeway.
-- Jeff Weiss
MP3: Daedelus -- "Off Angles Edges"
It's only fitting that Will Wiesenfeld, the producer/songwriter known as Baths, would invite Daedelus to share the bill at his album release party and enlist him for the first remix off of Baths' excellent "Cerulean." After all, it was Alfred Darlington who recruited him to play the Destroy L.A. party last year, the night that galvanized the 21-year-old's interest in beat music and directly led to the record's creation.
So, on July 3, the Troubadour will host Wiesenfeld & Darlington, a tandem who may sound like an downtown law firm but who make some of the most emotionally complex electronic music around. In honor of the event, Daedelus produced "♥ (Daedelus' Snolaxed Remix"), which confirms that he knows how to wring the maximum resonance from a track and correctly use an apostrophe. Ratcheting the tempo down to a pace that vaguely resembles Houston screw music, the track becomes a twisted and disorienting waltz.
Because of the massive response engendered during Baths' May residency at the Low End Theory, the club asked the Anticon-signed artist to play a follow-up show at Wednesday night's 12th Beat Invitational, alongside heavy-hitters such as Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, and Jneiro Janel. In other related news -- and because you presumably like good free music -- the Wednesday night weekly just dropped its 15th podcast, featuring sets from Gaslamp Killer and Lorn. If you enjoy noirish, brain-bludgeoning beats and Serge Gainsbourg, you will not be disappointed.
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Baths. Credit: Anticon
Back before “beat music” operated as the umbrella term encompassing the Low End Theory sound, there was Daedelus, the Santa Monica-born musician known for breaching genre constraints and for a set of stellar muttonchops that could humiliate Martin Van Buren. Hovering at the nebulous nexus between hip-hop, drum and bass, jazz and musique concrete, the musician, born Alfred Weisberg-Roberts, forged a singular aesthetic back when break beats and B-Boy poses still ruled the Los Angeles underground.
Only eight years into his career, the prolific producer already has released 10 solo albums, more than a dozen EPs and miscellaneous projects, plus full-length collaborations with prolix Project Blowed emcee Bus Driver, his wife Laura Darlington (under the moniker the Long Lost) and Dublab doyen Frosty (Adventure Time). Somehow, he found time to remix everyone from Wax Tailor to Sa-Ra, while amassing the finest collection of Edwardian coats this side of Roger Daltrey circa “A Quick One, While He’s Away.”