Daedelus is an artist who came up in the Los Angeles beat scene in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s. Since that time, he has given us a plethora of different projects that range from the grandest conceptual projects to the fun and (somewhat) straight ahead and everything in between. Most recently, he gave us the beat-focused project, What Wands Won’t Break, back in May of 2020. Now he is back with a completely different type of project, teaming up with Nigerian British poet Joahua Idehen to release an EP called Holy Water Over Sons.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Holy Water Over Sons is that going into it, you might think to yourself, “How will this work?” Within the first few seconds of the EP, however, the chemistry between Daedelus and Idehen will become so apparent and the style will so self-assured, you will feel like you’ve been listening to this duo for years. Daedelus knows how to play well in the background and let Idehen’s poetry shine in the spotlight, while still providing complex and interesting electronic music that interacts with Idehen’s words and rhythms and pushes everything along in just the right ways. It should also be noted that while Idehen is a poet first and foremost, this is not his first musical collaboration, having worked with groups like Sons of Kemet in the recent past. I say that to highlight the way in which Idehen finds interesting ways to play with the rhythm and melody of his words so that while some sections might feel more spoken word, there are also sung and rapped parts as well that all add to the complex picture that these two are painting together. He also has a beautiful resonance to his voice that gives his words weight at just the right moments. The two began to collaborate remotely in January of 2020, but when the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests began to happen, they knew they had to throw everything out the window and create something that could speak to the dark times we are living in. The result is a powerful EP that holds a mirror up to some of the darkest aspects of our society, while also finding the strength and beauty and resilience that are required to persevere and triumph. Ibehem does a brilliant job of conveying this in all its complexity and frustration, with words and turns of phrase that will paint some vivid pictures for you. It’s a short project on paper, but when you start to wade through all of the musical complexity and beautiful words and the big picture issues and all of the tiny, brilliant pieces that bring it all together, you feel like you’ve sat with a double album. It’s just that big in scale in statement compared to actual running time.

Holy Water Over Sons is interesting on paper, bringing these two artists from different backgrounds from different parts of the globe together, but it’s nothing compared to the final project. It’s beautiful and complex and challenging, pushing you to reconsider concepts of genre and performance, while still remaining accessible and inviting. It will move you emotionally and intellectually, and each time through you’ll discover a new layer you missed the last time.