As the 2000s turned into the 2010s, Daedelus’ style gradually moved from the quaint and occasionally anodyne to something more experimental in nature. His new album continues this trend, excursions into deep ambience that swing from warm to eerie and back again without breaking a sweat.
Lead single The Irreconcilables makes its mark with subterranean pads and a trumpet solo that meanders without noodling, while Sold As features wordless female vocals that are accompanied by swelling chords, a particular highlight being when her voice breaks and the synths seem momentarily to do the same. The synths droop lazily on opening track Deep In Concentration and flourish, video game style, on closing track Puts You Under, and each track develops its own subtly distinct sound world.
The Bittereinders is home to the kind of ambience that draws you in: there is a restlessness under the surface, whether it’s in the time-warped samples of Sangoma or the distortion that runs through Du Sud, giving the track an edge that its gentle strumming belies. This comes to the fore on Veldt, an exception in the tracklist with angular rhythmic phrases and repetitive vocals (“stay on the ground, don’t get up”), where exquisite sound design creates an intense, claustrophobic atmosphere. Anima’s centrepiece is an abrasive tone that oscillates at the speed of a lighthouse’s lamp, and Trifling goes all out with expansive reverb and synth play that is reminiscent of 90s IDM in its pitch-shifting goofiness.
At times it can be a somewhat challenging record – as the overdriven rumbling noise of Staatsartillerie demonstrates – but at a lean 39 minutes Daedelus doesn’t give himself time to be indulgent. Where his early work could come off a little skin-deep, The Bittereinders feels immersive and multilayered, and continues a winning streak for the dandyish producer.