The theory of technological singularity – the notion that humans and computer technology will increasingly blend together – has been explored in many forms of popular culture since it’s conception. Over the past two decades, there has been a larger movement to integrate electronic artists and jazz musicians, often leaving the former as more of a sonic addendum (floating over the music) rather than an integrated part of the ensemble. Tasked with exploring a deeper synthesis of electronic and acoustic players, instrumental quintet Kneebody’s collaboration with electronic musician Daedelus in turn creates a true union of these disparate approaches to music and genre as a whole.
The collaboration between Kneebody – keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, electric bassist Kaveh Rastegar, saxophonist Ben Wendel and drummer Nate Wood – and Daedelus had its initial roots planted as far back as high school for old friends Wendel and Alfred Darlington (aka Daedelus). “Often when I lived in LA, I would go to practice saxophone at Alfred’s house in the bathroom next to his studio. He would knock on the bathroom door and say ‘Would you mind playing something on this track?’,” recalls Wendel. “So I ended up being on at least five or six of Alfred’s albums because I happened to be there practicing. “
The pair’s early musical kinship in southern California seeded a connection that grew through numerous collaborations, recordings and live performances over the years, coming to fruition in an improvised performance in 2009 at “Jazz A Vienne” between their two primary music vehicles. When Wendel was awarded a composition grant through Chamber Music America based on the theory of technological singularity, it became a catalyst to write a series of pieces that would bridge the gap between the oft-indescribable world of Kneebody and the unique aesthetic of Daedelus.
When the quintet entered the studio with Darlington, the other members brought more compositions to the fore. “Ben approached me about trying to realize some of this music that was maybe different from the Kneebody spectacular – where they are always so through-composed – and do something that was more intimate,” reflects Darlington. The result is a ten-song set of original music that sits inside the rich pantheon of instrumental music, but with a modern sheen that takes the shape of a multi-headed beast straddling rock, jazz, and electronic music.
Grammy® Award-nominated quintet Kneebody generates explosive rock energy paralleled with high-level chamber ensemble playing, and highly wrought compositions balanced with adventurous no-holds-barred improvising. All “sounds-like” references can be set aside as the band has created a genre and style all its own. Each band member has amassed an impressive list of credits and accomplishments over the years while continuing to thrive and grow in reputation, solidifying a fan base around the world.
Like his mythological namesake, Daedelus is an inventor, a creator of sonic labyrinths. He recombines sounds from an eclectic palette into an innovative genre all his own. Otherwise known as Alfred Darlington, the Los Angeles producer has over two-dozen releases on a variety of labels and collaborates with musicians in many worlds: electronic, jazz, hip-hop, etc. His music runs the gamut of emotion, alternately intense and mellow, exuberant and melancholy, danceable and introspective. Daedelus has performed over a thousand shows for audiences on five continents, everywhere from Iceland to Istanbul. He is a founding father of the LA “Beat Scene,” often playing the storied Low End Theory club nights. Each live show is unique, employing Monome controllers and open-source software, which allows for on-the-fly improvisation. The backdrop onstage is Daedelus’ collaborative invention Archimedes, a robotic array of moving mirrors that reacts to and reflects the performance.