[CD Review] Daedelus, 'Love to Make Music To' (Ninja Tune)

LA beat troubadour Daedelus (Alfred Darlington) is God's gift to hotel-lobby DJs. ( I should know: I'm one of 'em.) Having shown his taste for contrarian funk with beats for Busdriver and releases on Plug Research and Mush, Daedelus delivers a disc that flips the mash-up into a mash-down of one-hit R&B, surly hip-hop, art-fag new wave and icy electro.

Back to the hotel-lobby DJ thing: You're in a swanky joint, and Thievery Corporation are so five years ago, so you want to play beat-driven stuff that's not too rowdy or pandering when it has MCs, but not so indie and stiff only record-store clerks who can't afford a $10 beer under a knock-off print would like it. Love to Make Music To is the ultimate un-rock to that party, and I mean that in the most complimentary way.

The album's a masterpiece of script flipping that covers unimaginable bases—Dilla and the Go! Team, Ratatat and Sebastien Tellier, Madlib and M83—usually within single songs. But what Daedelus does with them is more than just a sum of their smirking samples; he finds a new dimension of wistfulness that doesn't rely on the borrowed equity of nostalgia. His cover of Ghost Town DJs' “My Boo,” a cheesy, mid-'90s teen-club freestyle anthem, is given a dour synth and double-time rhyme by MC Paperboy, reinventing the track into something that can make your eyes well up and get your toes tapping. The even gorgeously grayer “Make It So” does the same, courtesy of Michael Johnson's pre-metal Ministry vocal. “I Took Two” follows suit; the Rob Base/DJ E-Z Rock (via Lyn Collins' “Think”) “whoo/yeah” sample put under a coal-black beat is like a musical this-is-your-brain-on-drugs ad. Throw in the insane, strung-together rave loops of “Hrs:Mins:Secs” for the Ableton inclined, and Daedelus is the DJ Rectangle of the dance-floor-less DJ massive: inventive, sure; clever, yeah. But most of all, moving, like a Goth Girl Talk with a longer attention span and a heart big enough to break and make the music to mend it to.

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