An Earnest Endeavour with Daedelus
Earnest Endeavours is the brain-child of three young gentlemen, London’s Patchwork Pirates – Tom McCarthy, Terence Teh and Alex Stevenson with one sole aim to forge some sort of transatlantic troop of music lovers and DJ/artists alike, marking its territory in London, New York City and Los Angeles. With the line-up for February’s instalment looking rather tasty indeed – a follow up from their last Earnest exhibition of with Teebs, Kumtah, Dorian Concept and Jam F. Kennedy – a trip to a secret London location, revealed just hours before the event, is in order.
London is a city that’s brimming with club nights which claim their individuality against the rest for being preciously hand-crafted to perfection, but I’m not too bowled over by the majority, if I’m honest. The Brainfeeder podcast has been fuelling my fire for a couple of years and what better to do on a Wednesday than go check out Wales-obsessed Alfred Darlington, otherwise known as Daedelus. Wednesday doesn’t bring too many delights (apart from realising it’s mid-week already) but we do find out that Daedelus, TOKiMONSTA, Lazer Sword and Starkey will be gracing The Basement in Hoxton tonight. We head down into the depths of Hoxton, wandering down a suspiciously familiar back street to find our roaming grounds for the night. A friend recalls it’s the same place where he saw Tensnake and it’s a right sweat-box, but I’m happy to embrace it. It’s a pretty cool affair – we seem like we’re the only ones who don’t know about the ‘no-door-handle’ policy – but we swiftly find our way down into the muggy depths of The Basement.
Drinks are purchased and we slither through into the back room, where we catch the eye of Daedelus, chilling out before his set. Heading into the main room (if you can call it that) we catch the last ten minutes of TOKiMONSTA’s set. As the first female and most recent addition to the Brainfeeder roster, there’s no faulting her track selection, making her signature stamp with squelchy, warped avant-garde hip-hop. The DJ area is all swish on one level so you couldn’t really call it a stage, but that definitely a good thing, and winding our way to the front there’s a fringe of enthusiastic swaggers cosily ebbing and flowing to TOKi’s low-slung unquantized beats. Lazer Sword follows suit with a power-hour of twisted and re-worked R&B gems and dirty-south hip-hop that make for some cringe-worthy (but oh so right) hip-swinging action.
But the real clincher of the night is, unsurprisingly, Daedelus. Having had the pleasure of catching Mr. Darlington on several occasions over the years, it’s common knowledge that he never fails to please; and tonight is no exception. With his live set-up compiled of laptop and his trusty Monome controller, Daedelus makes his entrance in a rather feisty, unabashed manner. But he’s not focused on the laptop tonight – something he calls the “the little blue screen of death” – he’s dead-set on his Monome and once he gets going he doesn’t stop ‘til it’s over. He’s definitely grown in terms of his music since I last saw him, (back when he was on tour with his Love To Make Music To album), edging away from the fancy frills of his earlier stuff on Ninja Tune to a much more hearty performance.
Our raconteur moves into the bulk of his set, his swishing locks clearly feeling the heat of the room, and his Monome action gives the set a real unpredictability as he cherry picks loops from his back catalogue (I definitely hear a slice of Fairweather Friends in there) and wedges them alongside glitches and snippets from material that’s evidently fresh of his forthcoming album Bespoke (out on April 11th). It goes without saying that we’re all pretty entranced by his knob twiddling and finger clicking action, and the Victorian jacket-wearing dandy doesn’t let things subside for one moment during the entire set. A medley of fast-clanging percussion and make-believe playground samples entwine in the most coherent of fashions as he literally plays his Monome like a real instrument with his head pulsing in time with every second beat. You can’t really pin his music to a particular genre or even era purely because he knows no limits and he’s not afraid of exhibiting that; I guess that’s the beauty of it. The room has emptied out a bit during his set (Not sure why? Part-timers), but his melting-pot of dubstep, electronica and hip-hop continues through to the early hours and it is all sublime listening for the ears.
Written By: Caroline Leeming