edIT – Certified Air Raid Material (Alpha Pup)


Los Angeles-based glitch-hop producer edIT (real name Edward Ma) first bent the ears of leftfield hip-hop heads back in 2004 with his IDM-kissed debut album Crying Over Pros For No Reason on Planet Mu, though he’ remained relatively quiet on the release front since, re-emerging briefly with an excellent remix of longtime mate Daedelus’ “Dumbfound’ on last year’ Sacred Symbols of Mu compilation. In reality however, he’ spent much of the ensuing years touring around the world virtually non-stop, a process that’s brought him into contact with a wide range of new acquaintances and collaborators, some of whom show up on this considerably anticipated follow-up effort Certified Air Raid Material on Oakland-based label Alpha Pup. As its extrovert title suggests, Certified…comes across as distinctly more room-shaking and party-oriented than its predecessor, with Ma collaborating with LA associates Grouch, Busdriver, Abstract Rude and D-Styles as well as French blip-hop outfit TTC across 12 tracks that lean towards DSP-contortion heavy crunked-up beats in a vein not dissimilar to that of Jimmy Edgar, Cacheflowe and Prefuse 73′ more booming offerings.

After a brief opening segue taken from an interview recording in which Ma explains that a lot of the tracks were written while he was “down and out”, “Artsy remix’ offers up what’s easily one of the most speaker-quaking digi-hop workouts I’ve yet heard this year, with edIT sending distortion-laced sub-bass rumbling through a mass of tricky stutter editing and killer sampled horn stabs while Grouch takes hilarious aim at self-conscious hipsterism, skewering hybrid-car drivers and chai-sippers alike with his edged lyrics. By contrast, the title track shows edIT paying minute attention to what sounds like an armoury of sliced and diced blues samples, tweaking and contorting each tiny sampled yell and guitar strum with exquisitely subtle detail over a lazy backdrop of headnod beats, before the sampled scream of a woman suddenly sends things flying into a forest of distorted synth-funk bass and furious MPC-punched backing vocals. Highlight moment “Night Shift’s sees Abstract Rude shifting the trajectory towards soul / funk-infused hip-hop vibes in the vein of Lyrics Born, albeit with a far more synth-heavy presence, as he details to a paranoid lover exactly what he could be getting up to after hours, while fat double bass grooves and jazz horns get pushed through the digi-hop blender.

Storming party-centric offering “Back Off The Floor Pt. 2′ pushes Grouch’ backing vocals through some vocoder processing in a style that calls to mind Daft Punk’ Discovery gone down some crunked-up hip-hop alley while sub-bass testing rumbles slide alongside twinkling electro synths, before “Crunk De Gaulle’ sees Busdriver, TTC and D-Styles trading verses over an extremely stuttered-up backdrop of crunching hip-hop rhythms, feathery acoustic guitar strums and distortion-laced power chords – while at first it comes as perhaps not too distinct from much of the French trio’ recent work, it soon proves to be one of the strongest tracks on offer here, with a seriously tricky breakdown that has to be heard to be believed (sampled quote from Busdriver: “I feel like Terry Riley in this bitch.”). Obviously for many listeners comparisons are likely to be made with the likes of Dabrye / Jimmy Edgar / Scott Herren and Certified…, but while I must confess to enjoying the recent works of those aforementioned artists on a cerebral level, the twelve tracks here show edIT shaking the room and moving the booty on a visceral level that’s been noticeably absent from much of their newer albums. Perhaps the most downright enjoyable crunked-up glitch-hop collection to emerge this year? Could be…

Chris Downton


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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands

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