Los Angeles producer Alfred Darlington, better known as Daedelus, has been one of the more prolific producers of the past two decades, putting out 17 albums in that span and many more EPs, singles and remixes, including others under other monikers. He teamed up with Sónar to create a new cutting edge, technological A/V show, entitled Panoptes. It is inspired by Panopticon, a type of prison architecture designed by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham at the end of the 18th century, which allows guards to watch the prisoners without them knowing. The setup involves four vertical ropes that spin so fast that they appear solid.
We caught up with Daedelus to talk that new setup and how he is able to be so prolific. Daedelus will perform at the Sónar and Life + Death showcase this Friday in Brooklyn at Avant Gardner alongside DJ Koze, DJ Tennis, Sinjin Hawke, Red Axes, Zora Jones (Live A/V), Moscoman and many others. Daedelus will be bringing the Panoptes.
In addition to the show, Daedelus also crafted a special 30 minute mix for us to get you ready for this gig and beyond.
What went into creating your new visual show and why did you put it together?
When Sónar approached me about participating in their 2018 edition I knew there was an opportunity to present an audacious idea. They are a festival synonymous with experience, for goodness NASA was also presenting during Sonar+D?! I approached my collaborators at Incite* who do practical effects for companies like Apple and we came up with an idea involving volumetric displays unlike any I'd seen. Calling it Panoptes, meaning all-seeing.
What should someone expect to see?
Such beautiful simplicity. Four vertical ropes that rotate at such speeds that when lit up cause the appearance of solid ribbons, almost waveforms, and even serve as a surface you can 3D project into. It has the feeling of creating space, and much like the music I'm performing can be transformative.
You have been quite prolific at putting out albums over the past few years. How have you been able to write so much music and do your fans respond well to the album format?
Kind of you to say prolific, but truly I've only made such a few drops in the overflowing bucket of music ever available. My only hope is that if you've gotten far enough down the rabbit hole of beat music or bass that perhaps you'll encounter some of my albums. I'd be lucky if one or two might prove worthy. However if you do I promise I've hours more that could suit depending on the mood you've found yourself in.
Were you always a good public speaker or did you have to work on that?
In what feels like a different life I was an aspiring jazz musician. A fantastic teacher imparted to me "not to play a note until I had something to add to the conversation." I took those words so to heart, and with some heartache gave up the double bass since I really didn't have anything to yet say. It took some years and eventually I believe there was something to offer in electronics, and more years to have something to say aloud about music itself. I'm so lucky I get to live in sound and talk about it with others everyday.
What are a few pieces of tech that you think could really transform the way electronic music is going to be performed in the future?
Modular. Seizing on the technology of expression to allow for more interaction, more exploration, more ways. Modular is more a mind set than any single instrument; and recently its been fundamental to all the sound design you've heard in techno, bass, noise, et al. I've been exploring it in the past year as a performative space that can include the audience in roller-coasters of build-up and so very far broken-downs. New tricks is such a treat.