Released in 2003, Dreams of Water Themes
was the first and only full-length album of a short-lived experimental hip-hop duo, comprised of DJs Daedelus and Frosty. While the latter hadn’t released any music at that time, Daedelus was accelerating his solo project, whose debut, created a year earlier, featured sounds that would be largely absent to Adventure Time -- mostly uninnovative, receiving an average rating from Pitchfork, having Cartoon Network feature a show of the same name and conceived by unknown producers to begin with, this LP quietly slipped under the radar.
Similarities in Daedelus’ work to that of Adventure Time stand out immediately upon hearing the jazzy opener, “Age of Aquariums” (aha!) -- he clearly keeps a strong integrity to the samples he uses, plucked from every decade since jazz was cool. The first words are so important: “I see the horizon / The great unknown” foreshadows so much while actually foreshadowing nothing. Adventure Time and Daedelus are both fairly aware that they are about as unpredictable as they are lullaby-esque; but don’t let this fool you. Dreams of Water Themes
quickly transitions from tranquil jazz samples (“Whetting Whistles”) to cathartic breakbeat purges (“General MIDI Vs. Rusty 4eyes”), and mixes the two very well.
This reviewer sees such unpredictability when we hit “Whetting Whistles”, one of the few tracks with intelligible, authentic (not sampled) vocals, while a few tracks are simply voice samples (“My Musical Friend”, “Kids Say the Darndest Things”, “Water Plop”, “Hypnotized Arms”). The aforementioned track seems to be clinging to a boring beat and hooks that just don’t resonate with the auditor, whilst the lyrics are merely ineffective to the music; a daunting consequence of left-field. Albeit contrary to the motifs of Water Themes
, the music presented is extremely dry.
This idea is exhibited on consecutive tracks “Water Signs” and “Eel Sand Witch”, which pass by very quickly, leading up to possibly the best song on the LP, dub-esque “General MIDI Vs. Rusty 4eyes”, which shows how good Adventure Time is at mixing opposing musical styles. “Sent from Sandy Shores” features an eerie spoken-word delivery: “Teach me to remember / Till I’ve forgotten to forget… Tell me all your secrets / Introduce me to the night.” This largely instrumental album is able to display such connection to an important part of our eco-system; this is the most attractive of Adventure Time’s traits.
The duo has a great ability to switch styles and be equally or more captivating performance. Tribal “Girl of the Well” is almost sinister in its Japanese voice samples and its follow-up, “Kappabashi” (a figure in Japanese folklore meaning "river-child"), sees similar aesthetics. The closer, painstakingly repetitive “Rusty Anchors Wrestling Waves” boringly sums up the album as it carves melody by boring melody. Adventure Time doesn’t just use samples -- they beat them to death.
DJ Frosty sunk into irrelevance, while Daedelus became involved in many different projects as a producer. He helped hip-hop artist Busdriver, and on his fifth album, Fear of a Black Tangent
, the best songs still seem to be that produced by Daedelus. His other projects, such as The Long Lost, formed with his wife, still subconsciously hones the characteristics of this 2003 LP -- very loungey music with hip-hop beats are prevalent. This album foreshadowed many things he would do in the future; however, inconsistent and very repetitive, we still see Dreams of Water Themes
to be the most popular go-to for the producer.
I once read that science has discovered less about the ocean than it has Mars -- Adventure Time, however, claims otherwise.