H&P Presents Daedelus – Stereo – 28/10/2009

Robin Perkins

After having seen Daedelus in a live setting a few times I have come to expect the unexpected. A man unfazed by genre, BPM and style, his captivating live spectacles are never the same. Arriving onstage in his trademark tailcoat and sideburns, Mr. Weisberg-Roberts treats his audience to an introduction expressing his gratitude to the crowd and city of Glasgow. His love for this city is in part due to the fact that every time he plays here it is different: a different venue, a different crowd and a whole different vibe.

Tonight he promises to take us on a musical journey, meandering through sonic valleys and crossing musical plains. It all sounds quite profound, but his affable nature and his clear enthusiasm lets him get away with it. He is not mistaken: within five minutes he has swept the crowd up, leading us through a relentless sonic odyssey, the musical antithesis of the last time I caught him in a similar dingy basement at the 13th Note.

Live electronic music is often criticised for its lack of performance, generally associated with watching a performer hunched behind his Macbook screen pressing buttons. Cries of “He could just be playing iTunes for all we know!” abound. If Daedelus is just playing iTunes tonight then he deserves an Oscar. His mesmerising and perplexing use of the Monotone audio controller (a big incomprehensible box of flashing LED lights) and his intense performance are entirely captivating — not to mention his musical endeavour. Tilting the DIY-looking box towards the audience, his fingers fly across the buttons like a maniacal pianist contorting and controlling the sound.

Though on disc Daedelus has produced skewed hip-hop nostalgia and is part of LA’s Low End Theory crew, the kings of the skewed, underground hip-hop scene. Tonight however, was a lesson in hard, fast, abrasive techno, dubstep and bass. It was essentially a DJ set, though unlike any you will ever see. His musical tapestry wove Burial into The Beach Boys, soul into Joker and Beirut into hard-techno. After a ten minute bass assault, truly using and abusing Stereo’s bass-filled cavern, he suddenly segued into a precious vocal sample, stepping back from his workbench and singing along, hand on heart. The equivalent to musical attention deficit disorder, at times it was overwhelming, but you cannot help but admire his ability to freeform mix between folk and techno. Innumerable snippets of songs you recognised were completely detached from their context.

Putting our trust in Daedelus, we were led by the hand into a musical maze of dark driving drums and menacing bass lines. I came expecting hip-hop wanderings and left feeling like I had just experienced a force ten gale, eyes wide open and hair blown back. What can you say to that? It is entrancing and relentless.

Tonight, Daedelus demonstrated that he is one of the most exciting live performers you will ever see.


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