Daedelus: Sounds from the Other City, Salford – live review

Sounds from the Other City. Islington Mill, Salford.
5th May, 2013. 

Daedelus is the romantic duellist of electronic dance music…and  Louder Than War caught his recent show as part of Sounds from the Other City.

Over a sweltering May Bank Holiday, Salford’s “Sounds from the Other City” festival concluded with headliner Daedelus serving a scorching hour-long set to a packed hot room at Islington Mill.

From Santa Monica, California, the gentlemanly Alfred Darlington has been touring the world for ten years as Daedelus, showcasing original compositions mashed into widely encompassing DJ sets.

A frequently sought-out collaborator and remixer & held in high esteem by many current recording artists, Daedelus stands respected for his fresh approach to club and festival performances. He presents himself as a dandy, a well-dressed visitor come to bedazzle from an outside age with an engine of desire and a box of delights.

He’s a key exponent of the monome device, a grid encoder which enables him to input various sound and light sources at the push of a chessboard square. He plays it as a complex new instrument, his pianist fingers trampolining across the interface as his body jolts with beats-induced involuntary muscle spasms. It’s like witnessing his name-sake inventor from Greek mythology, as he masters a powerful event synthesizer that controls the tides of time. In silhouette, his upturned collar, tie and tailed frock coat bring to mind a hybrid of Chaplin and The Mad Hatter, regenerated within a character from the future.


The grateful crowd in Salford were lapping it up. From Daedelus they get treated to earscapes of electronica suffused with dubstep, techno, jungle, house, hip-hop, through to psychedelic garage punk, gospel soul and classical eras. You feel a glory, a celebration of what music has done to him – made him a vessel, an electrical conductor for currents of cadence to pass through and charge. It’s rare to see an artist so involved with his work, not craving the fawning adulation of fame but instead seeking to immerse himself amongst the dancing reverie.

He is currently perfecting a robotic mirror sculpture visualised with designer Emmanuel Baird of the Manchester Warehouse and Creators Projects. Called “Archimedes”, it’s an eye-popping reflective array of spinning panels that rotate in tempo with the player’s commands – a means to further enhance an all-involving gig experience, to envelop the surroundings in bending streams of distorted light.

The Islington Mill show was the last night of a globe-trotting tour that began in February. His soaring energy rocked the throng of joyful clubbers, topped off with two encores and an outpouring of appreciation. In his sartorial elegance, his bespoke tailoring is testament to the sound he conjures – a unique tapestry, a suit of rich materials and diverse fabrics, worn with humility yet still the proudest peacock cutting the best dash in the room.

Please keep your ears open for Daedelus. For this reviewer, he is a welcome promise of surprises to come in music’s future days.

Daedelus’s website is here. He can be found on Facebook here & is on Twitter as  @daedelus_music. His latest EP is called “Looking Ocean” and can be downloaded in exchange for an email address here.

All words by Adam Webbow. You can find more of Adam’s writing on Louder Than War at his author archive.

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