We began our day with some wonder courtesy of prolific electronic musician Daedelus, also known as Alfred Darlington, who joined us for another installment of our weekly Manifest Mornings virtual event series.
This transplant from LA is a founding member of Berklee College of Music’s EDI program. If you're asking yourself, "What in the world is EDI?" you're not alone. EDI stands for electronic digital instrument. Daedelus explained that typically people come across this type of music by need, not by study. With Berklee's new program, he is trying to create pedagogy around an artistic form that has so far been lacking it.
Before he became a successful DJ and producer, Daedelus was a frustrated jazz musician who played the double bass. He had trouble finding his voice within the traditional music of the great American songbooks, but once he dabbled in EDI music, he not only found himself but also his tribe. As his musical relationships grew, he learned that community is not only good for the arts, but good for our souls. Daedelus now collaborates with musicians in many worlds, including electronic, jazz, and hip-hop, and has released over two dozen recordings on a variety of labels.
To choose his artist name, Daedelus drew on ancient mythology, choosing a namesake who was an inventor and craftsman, much like Darlington. Composing and creating sounds by drawing from an eclectic palette is his form of invention. He approaches creating with the mindset that, “A set of problems becomes a set of possibilities.”
What kind of problems? The limitations of his two hands, for starters. Daedelus is known to be an inventive performer, due in part to the limitations of the sound system he’s playing on. The restraints of a live performance versus studio recording invite him to improvise on the fly during shows.
While not all of us are creative electronic musicians, there are some lessons we can take away from Daedelus' state of mind. Creating wonder under constraints, such as the pandemic we're currently enduring, starts with three ideas:
- The Utensil Theory - Creativity hinges on upending how we see the world and the mental attachments we bring to objects and places. Stay open to seeing things differently, and be in a curious, supple place to create.
- Embracing an abundance of yes - Even in this time where we’re physically confined to our same rectangle every day, you can be an explorer in your own space. Swim deeply into the confines we’re in and see the deeper truth within us and the natural world.
- Wonder aloud - Ideas are meant to be shared, mulled, explored… follow their path.
Rather than thinking of himself as the birthplace of ideas, Daedelus looks outside for inspiration. For those stuck in a professional creative rut, he says it’s worthwhile to work on things from a different direction.
Experience the full conversation from today's Manifest Mornings session with Daedelus by watching the meeting recording below.
You can learn more about Daedelus in this mini documentary from Brainfeeder and hear more from him at an upcoming event with immerse(d). He also has a new album coming out May 8, so keep an eye on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
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