Album Reviews

Jimmy Edgar – Color Strip

(Warp) UK release date: 3 April 2006

Jimmy Edgar may be in his early 20s but it’s already several years that he’s been playing records and live sets in Detroit nightclubs with the likes of Juan Atkins and Derrick May. By the looks of things he could be part of the next wave of electronic music talent in the city, continuing a family tree that no other city bar Berlin can rival in the techno world.

Edgar is helped by the past for sure, and his music reverently takes in Kraftwerk as well as the early techno music of artists such as Mr Fingers, setting spatial chords over chattering electronic beats, with fulsome bass lines to bother the subwoofers.

To this blend he unexpectedly adds a dirty, synthesized P-funk style, and this finds its best use in the thrilling My Beats, an irresistibly danceable track that sounds like an updated techno version of Michael Jackson‘s Jam. Prince, too, is a palpable influence in more soulful outings like LBLB Detroit, where a bump and grind rhythm dominates a slow moving chord sequence.

At other times the music is found suspended in outer space. Telautraux begins life as a short wave transmission over a suspended chord, until Edgar gradually and almost imperceptibly introduces some disquieting, mashed-up vocals to confuse things. Jefferson Inception is a superb slice of techno, a deep rhythm chasing Edgar’s hypnotic vocal sample.

On the funkier side of town is the alarmingly titled I Wanna Be Your STD, not quite as alarming as it sounds but still on the grubby, sleazy side of funk, Edgar’s sinister choice of vocal making an impact.

Edgar clearly knows his way around his equipment, and all his tracks have a clear, cogent structure that’s through composed but always containing a good number of riffs to cling onto, vocal samples to digest. His debt to early electronic music is clear but doesn’t get overplayed, rather it’s used as a springboard to blend in the new.

An auspicious debut then, and one that puts Edgar in line to the throne currently occupied by artists such as Derrick May and Carl Craig. With a suitably appealing mad streak that’s bound to be encouraged by his forthcoming tour with Jamie Lidell, tied to a strong sense of craft and care in his work, the potential is clearly there for Edgar to go a lot further. His development deserves to be closely monitored.

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Jimmy Edgar – Color Strip