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Righteous Fists of Harmony
“The rebellion ends in some kind of sad oblivion, oddly also blissful, in ’Fin de Siècle’.”
With what must be a sizeable margin of error given his wealth of releases todate, we can say that Righteous Fists of Harmony is Daedelus’ 15th EP since 2002. Add to that 12 full lengths, and we have an experimental producer who is on his daily grind. Comfortably inhabiting an array of genres and sounds on his releases, this one had Flying Lotus’ give Daedelus free hands in conjuring up his new EP on the former’s Brainfeeder imprint, meaning fans have been even more unsure than usual of what the final product may sound like. As it turned out, Daedelus felt like making a brief but intense sonic depiction of the Chinese Boxer Rebellion at the end of the 19th century. And he has done it with style.
The story of how Chinese secret society the Army of the Righteous Fists attempted to fight back against foreign intrusion on China, as told by Daedelus, begins with the approach of a foreign ship in ‘An Armada Approaches’. Almost halfway into the tune, the harmonious opening is abruptly broken by an eerie, distorted guitar and lurking drums that suggest the enemy is near. The listener is placed in the eye of the storm towards the end of the track, when the pounding rhythms have ushered out whatever amity it may have begun with. Not to worry, though, because before long the ’Order of a Golden Dawn’ instils bliss with a floating guitar and the elegant vocals of Laura Darling.
Then comes another masterful shift in the tone of the album. Picking up from the unsettled, lurking background of ’Order of a Golden Dawn’, ’The Finishing of a Thing’ begins the beautifully desolate end of the uprising (and the EP), which depicts the re-surpression by the foreign intruders. Its stoic trumpet of marches the listener right into battle by the beat of the drum, culminating in a literally terrifying whirlwind of animal noises and cymbals. We end in some kind of sad oblivion, oddly also blissful, in ’Fin de Siècle’.
Members of the Righteous Fists of Harmony movement believed they would be able to fly by practising martial arts, keeping a strict diet and praying. It would have been much easier to the sounds of Daedelus.
words Sven Carlsson