Daedelus’s Exquisite Corpse was one of the best records of 2005, an evening journey through the death of hip-hop and the birth of a new music community, tied together by careless folds in a sheet that exposed his dream world of talents. Where previous efforts had been unreachable, Exquisite Corpse was, ironically enough, warm and alive. Denies the Day’s Demise, the producer’s fifth full-length in five years, may deviate from that path, but the quality of the record is just as strong, its bossa nova/grime/IDM cut-up vision just as sprawling. What’s missing is an access point, a door into the world depicted in the Little Nemo wonderland of the art.
Always just a bit removed, the record still manages to have surprises along the way. “Lights Out” is a lounge-cut mind-fuck, and “Sawtooth EKG” uses the shimmering pan-in/pan-out that might be a trademark of Daedelus if he cared to provide one. Still, you can’t help feel that the record is longer than its fifty-minute running time and that it could have used a few edits, or at least some really different tracks to break up the uniformity. I don’t want to say it’s vocals that are missing — both because it’s not and because I don’t want to be that guy — but the record’s tone is almost too consistent. “Samba Legrand” on its own is enjoyable enough, as is “Patent Pending,” but next to better songs of a similar makeup, they seem like limp, weaker cousins. It makes the record worthwhile but ultimately not something you want to throw on to enjoy. Rather, Denies the Day’s Demise is something you have to pay attention to in order to fully appreciate its intricacies.
The negatives and positives of intellectualizing (or at least complexly assembling) music are constantly at war with one another, and the negatives usually win out for the average listener. A cursory listen to Denies the Day’s Demise will result in similar disappointment, although if you have the time to dedicate to these genre-bending excursions, the effort can be worth it more often than not. Daedelus is a distinct artist, and his songs are always rewarding, if not constantly entrancing the way his best work can be.