The last time that I saw Alfred Darlington (aka: Daedelus) I was making him some coffee. [For the coffee nerds out there, I was doing an Ethiopa Nekisse (Sidama/Shakisso) pour over through a beehouse dripper.] As I was coming back from a break, I had noticed the Los Angeles-based electronic musician/composer exiting a cafe/roastery that I barista at, so I walked out front to speak with him and offer to make him a cup of those crazy $39 per/lb beans that had just come in. It was the end of last October and he was in the middle of his Magical Properties tour, with a Seattle show scheduled in town that night. This was just 5 days after Memes conducted our interview with co-headliner, The Gaslamp Killer during the tour’s previous stop in San Francisco. I had originally met Alfred back when I was arranging our 2007 interview with him; also conducted by Memes and only the 3rd interview we ever posted on the site. As I slowly poured steaming water over the grounds, there was a quiet, inconspicuous kid to his side who I was introduced to as Teebs; another artist signed to Flying Lotus‘ Brainfeeder label. It wasn’t until I got home and checked the internet that I found out what a talented painter and musician Teebs was. Although the skateboarder-turned-electronic prodigy developed a lot of his skills during his time living with Flylo and Samiyam, I couldn’t help but recognize familiar elements from much of Daedelus‘ lush, hazy, down-tempo landscapes. At one time a newcomer, wielding nothing but his own hybrid visions of elegant steam-punk electronica, it seems that the musical world has finally begun to catch up to a sound that Darlington began crafting a decade ago. Not only that, but it also seems that, after 10 years in the game, the world is really beginning to acknowledge his contributions. Read the rest of this entry →
William Bensussen (aka “The Gaslamp Killer”) has been tearing up stages and DJ booths since he was 17, infiltrating and wrecking the, otherwise, fairly orthodox “dance club” scene of San Diego‘s Gaslamp district. In 2006, he relocated to Los Angeles and helped found the Low End Theory weekly that now serves as the epicenter for U.S.-based experimental beats. Generously borrowing from a wide range of genres, GLK blends hip-hop, dubstep, jazz, and just about anything else into high-energy, schizophrenic sets characterized by fast cuts, chest-crushing bass, and gritty top-shelf beats. Although mostly known for his DJ sets and mixes, Bensussen has also dabbled in production, collaborating with label-mates Flying Lotus and Daedelus in the past, and, more recently, with Gonjasufi on the critically acclaimed A Sufi And A Killer. His most recent project, the Death Gate EP, just came out on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label this past month, and blends deep bass lines with dirty analog drums patterns, twisted ethnic samples, and dreamy, distorted synth lines. The album includes guest appearances by Gonjasufi, San Francisco-based DJ/producer Mophono, and LA keyboard wiz Computer Jay.
I sat down with The Gaslamp Killer before the “Magical Properties” show at 103 Harriet in San Francisco on October 15th. The tour featured other Brainfeeder/LA acts such as IDM pioneer Daedelus, dubstep producer/DJ 12th Planet, and Brainfeeder newcomer Teebs. The lineup encompasses much of what is so exciting about the LA scene- off-kilter beats, powerful bass, record-crate samples, and plenty of weirdness.
- Davis Memes
Since 2003, David Wang has released a body of work that pretty much runs the gamut of experimental electronic music. As “Mochipet“, Wang made his first waves with his mash-up masterpiece, “Combat“, on the Violent Turd label (an offshoot of Kid606’s seminal Tigerbeat6 techno label), in 2003. Breakcore-inspired exercises like “Yes vs. NoMeansNo” and “They Might Be Giants vs. Lyrical Giants” proved that the mash-up genre has more to offer than Girl Talk’s pop-friendly blend of modern hip-hop and radio hits. From there, Mochipet went on to release “Uzumaki” (2004, Component Records), a blend of cut-up beats, ethnic percussion, and tense ambience. 2007’s “Disko Donkey” (on his own Daly City Records label) saw Wang move toward the more dance floor friendly styles of disco, techno, and electro-pop with a little help from friends, like minimal queen and BpitchControl label-head Ellen Allien and SF rockers Scissors For Lefty.
But fans of Mochipet’s breakcore spasms didn’t have to hold their breath for too long. 2007 also saw the release of “Girls (Heart) Breakcore” (Daly City Records), an all-out attack of drill-n-bass chaos slipped over several seemingly unrelated genres, including Chinese Opera, Metal, Hip-Hop, and falsetto Pop a la JT. As the title suggest, Wang is all-to aware of the testosterone-heavy tendencies of the genre (seriously, how many female breakcore artists are out there?). The album also features several remixes by partners-in-crime Aaron Spectre (Drumcorps), Rotator, and Otto Von Schirach. Soon after came “Feel My China II“, the second installment of albums featuring remixes of Mochi’s work by his peers. Remixes by glitch-hop poster boy edIT, Venezuelan breakcore/dubstep innovator Cardopusher, and IDM noodler Machine Drum reinterpreted Mochipet’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink style in their own language, often with exciting results.
Mochipet’s latest offering,”Microphonepet“, is a collection of collaborations with MCs and vocalists of the underground hip-hop variety. Spanning several years, Mochi offers up a blend of classic hip-hop ( “Do What You Feel” with Artlinkletters, “Ride On” with Mike Boo & Raashan (Crown City Rockers), club-friendly dance tracks (“Get Your Whistle Wet” with The Hustle Heads), and glitchy bass stutters (“Boys And Boys And Toys” with Jahcoozi, “Mr. Malase” with Humanbeings, Dopestyle, and Casual of Oakland’s Hieroglyphics crew). Albeit a little scatterbrained genre-wise (mostly due to the span of time in which the tracks were produced), Microphonepet offers a little something for everyone, from the Burning Man/Glitch Mob crowd to the Tribe Called Quest purists to the indie rap scenester.
Mochipet was kind enough to meet me after our first interview attempt was botched by technical difficulties. Upon arriving at his house, I was offered a glass of wine by his girlfriend, Fiona. “Or, we have beer.” Having just drank a tall boy of PBR on the drive over, I opted for the brewski. We chatted for a few minutes while I set up my recording equipment, and we were on our way… Read the rest of this entry →
Daedelus keeps himself busy. Since 2001, the Los Angeles-based producer has released albums on underground hip-hop labels Plug Research, Mush, and Alphapup, experimental techno label Phthalo, German label Laboratory Instinct, and the prolific underground electronica giant Ninja Tune, amongst others. In 2003, he collaborated with LA underground MCs Busdriver and Radioinactive for the childrens’ album-soaked “The Weather,” (Mush) only to release a completely reconstructed instrumental version later that year. Upcoming projects include collaboration with his wife, Laura Darlington, a second collaboration with Los Angeles’ DJ Frosty (after 2003‘s marine-inspired “Dreams of Water Themes“), and a full-length album for Ninja Tune. And hot off the presses are the “Fair Weather Friends” EP (Ninja Tune) and “Live At The Low End Theory” (Mush) from LA’s new weekly home for underground hip-hop.
I caught up with Daedelus on a recent tour with Busdriver and Antimc at The Great American Music Hall, possibly San Francisco’s best-sounding small venue. Here’s what he had to say about creating music, distributing music, and, well, music. Read the rest of this entry →