LA-based music legend Alfred Darlington aka Daedelus comes through with his brand new album Bittereinders. It is the third and final album in his trilogy, which composed of 2010’s The Righteous Fists of Harmony and 2014’s The Light Brigade. With the first two albums focusing on the Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901 and the Crimean War of 1853-56 respectively, his third album is titled after the ravages of the Second Boer War, a turn-of-the-century imperial conflict in South Africa defined by state-sanctioned massacres and guerrilla warfare. Known for his eclectic and sometimes dark music, this release is simultaneously haunting and somewhat spiritual.
With hypnotic synths ringing on “Deep In Concentration,” the album starts off with an incredibly tense sound that is almost suffocating with it’s dense synths and eerie tone. Throughout the album, there is a true sense of angst and worry, as the compositions sound dense and unsettling for the most part. “Trifling” is an animated electronic track, with quirky synths and a dominant synth lead that brings a dominant, rumbling energy to the track. The jazz influenced “The Irreconcilables” brings soulful saxophones to the record, with stunningly beautiful leads that are accompanied by ethereal synths in the background that just grow and grow as the track progresses. The otherworldly “Sangoma” is a truly special moment on the album, as the angst and suffocating tone of this track makes it almost unbearable to listen to with its intensity. “Sold As” features angelic vocals and ethereal horns that are poignant and truly mesmeric. The robotic nature of “Anima” makes that track almost alien to the rest, while “Staatsartillerie” is a cacophonous, drone-filled track that’s abrasive to the ears. It’s what I imagine an alien UFO transmission sounding like on earth. Just ugly and haunting in the best possible way. “Veldt” features this metallic, industrial beat that are juxtaposed by smooth vocals, while “Du Sud” is another cacophonous mix of synths, subtle guitar leads that eventually breaks away to give a gorgeous piano-led piece that’s almost angelic in spirit. “Puts You Under” ends the album off with sweet guitar leads and an ethereal, synth-heavy backdrop that’s also complemented by electronic effects and quirks, but gives the album a sense of peace as it ends the album off beautifully.
Overall, the moody, often unsettling tone of Daedelus’ new album makes it stand out in his discography as really pushing the boundaries of what ambient experimental electronic music sounds like. While I feel like I need to be in a specific mood for this album, once I’m in it I’m transfixed. A great listen.
Listen to Daedelus’ brand new album The Bittereinders below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via Brainfeeder Records.