Jimmy Edgar – XXX (K7/Inertia)

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Jimmy Edgar

It’s been four years since Detroit-based electronic producer and fashion photographer Jimmy Edgar released his preceding debut ‘Color Strip’ album, and this considerably anticipated follow-up ‘XXX’ sees several changes afoot, the most immediately obvious one being that he’s now left the Warp label roster, in favour of !K7. Given the shift in sound (if not overall aesthetic) compared to Edgar’s previous material in evidence amongst the eleven tracks here, it’s perhaps fair to say that Edgar’s now exploring the electro-funk territory he couldn’t explore with Warp’s associated post-IDM trappings still swirling around him. Indeed, on ‘XXX’, Edgar sounds like he’s having more raw, visceral fun than ever, with the jittery, complex programming of his previous work giving way to retro synth-funk and the Minneapolis sound, the most obvious touchstones here being the likes of Prince, George Clinton and Cameo.

If ‘Function Of Your Love’ opens proceedings on a synth-drenched electro-funk tip that sounds as though it could have stepped straight off Prince’s ‘Controversy’ album, phased, near-whispered vocals, waspy stabs and all, by contrast first single ‘Hot, Raw, Sex’ takes things further out on a Cybotron-esque electro-tech trajectory that manages to somehow end up far more understated and smooth than its title would suggest (think Alexander Robotnick meets ‘No UFOs’ somewhere in the middle). Elsewhere, ‘New Touch’ sees Zapp-esque treated vocals flitting over a darkly robotic backdrop of throbbing bass and scissor-sharp breakdance rhythms, before the jagged ‘One Twenty Detail’ offers a jump back to the more treacherously broken style of Edgar’s earlier Warp releases, as vocal fragments get cut up and scattered rhythmically against gliding motorik rhythms and blurred out synths to spectacular effect. In this case, rather than diluting his sound by adopting a more ‘commercial’ approach, ‘XXX’ sees Edgar bending mainstream US RNB production cliches his way, resulting in a consistently engaging album that still manages to carry his established sense of underlying unease – see the creepy whispered vocal on booming bass-driven highlight ‘Push’ and ‘Physical Motion’s use of almost queasy pitchshifted female backing vocals. If you’re looking for a blast of early-eighties Paisley Park-style synth-funk, you could do far worse than this.

Chris Downton

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

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