This unlikely duo forged in lockdown roam across swirling electronic soundscapes with their powerful protest messages
The past 18 months have yielded a number of unexpected collaborations as artists who have long admired each other’s work suddenly found themselves with time on their hands. One such pair is Daedelus and Joshua Idehen: the former, aka Alfred Darlington, a waistcoat-wearing linchpin of the LA beats scene, now relocated to Boston; the latter, the poet laureate of UK jazz, a British-born Nigerian living in Sweden, whose fragmentary utterings have seared tracks by The Comet is Coming and Sons Of Kemet.
Strange, then, that Holy Water Over Sons is largely beatless, a series of borderless lullabies for the end of the world. Idehen’s streams of consciousness are couched in electronic soundscapes that swirl across genres, untethered. The two had been trading ideas for a while, but last year’s BLM movement has refocused their message, and themes of racial injustice and identity on songs such as Floyd, Target and Pedal Down, No Breaks contrast intriguingly with warped organ, sun-dappled Fender Rhodes piano and lambent pools of strings arranged by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.
It’s an understated, often ominous listen, and Daedelus lets Idehen’s gifted lyricism and personality shine, giving his voice the air of a digitised street preacher delivering powerful sermons on protest and revolution. The more intimate closer, Standing in My Own Way, is a bruised lament about lost friendship and personal shortcomings that shows Idehen’s vulnerability too. This is touted as a “mini album”; you can’t help but wonder what alchemy might happen if they make it into the studio in person.