By David Colburn
Everything is fine enough to begin with; melodies are catchy enough, beats pummel with enough intensity, and samples draw enough of a pastoral impression. Daedelus is well-versed in electronica and all of its intricacies; he realizes the significance of subtlety and the level of responsibility which ultimately rests with each listener. Everything is fine enough to begin with, but everything becomes much better; much more vibrant, lively, emotional, and effective, on the second and third spin.
The world of Bespoke is divided into vast and connected continents; certain tracks flow with a vintage quality, some focus on the heartwarming and the infectious, and the final legion shamelessly turn to the harsher and more experimental facets of sound.
Nostalgia ranges in time-frames that defy simple classification, the opening “Tailor-Made” and “What Can You Do?” recall electronic dance music of the 1990s, while other tracks reach toward a much earlier era. “Penny Loafers” features eerie, Residents-like vocal harmonies that could exist in the realm of the pop standards of the 1930 or 1940 and the leisurely horns of “Suit Yourself” may remind listeners of the television theme music prevalent in mid-1970. Bespoke marks its final moment in a warbled, retro sample that proclaims “I want to see.”
The album’s heart beats with the most pride on the melodic instrumental centerpiece “Sew, Darn, Mend.” Listeners are lulled into a sense of security and relief by the track’s simple progression and the feeling does not fade or shatter as the noise moves further and further from delicacy. “In Tatters” allows for a similar emotional response in its echoing euphoric majesty.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Bespoke is displayed through its darker edge. One quickly becomes immersed within the noisy billowing waves of “Slowercase D”, faces the melodic clash of “One and Lonely”, gazes at the ghostly IDM quality of “French Cuffs” and becomes simply overwhelmed by the fittingly titled track of the same name. Each of the aforementioned tracks provide the earliest bursts of excitement and interest within Bespoke, and their attacks never lose power.
Daedelus’ wisdom and experience as an artist contributes in no small measure to the quality of Bespoke. With a considerably dense discography, one might initially expect a work produced in hastiness: such a fear might even be validated by the first uninvolved listen. Give Bespoke the chance it deserves and everything about it will prove to be more than enough.