Friday, April 29, 2005

Give Praise To True Scientists

Edan - Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme

Edan - Smile

In the same way that rock music emerged from rock 'n' roll and outstayed it's welcome, developing into forms Chuck and Ike could never have imagined, so Hip-Hop has long since proved that, far from being a fad, it's hardly even begun. While chart Hip-Hop becomes ever more bland and bling-obsessed, it's heartening that elsewhere, just below pop culture's surface, it's trying on the whole damn fancy-dress trunk, pointing the way for multiple futures. It's depressing to hear such a narrow lyrical remit in the charts when rap can so perfectly accommodate anything from old-fashioned storytelling to psychedelic surrealism. Party-tunes have their place, of course (especially in Hip-Hop), but if I hear 'Fiddy' Cent whining about wanting his lolly sucked one more time, I might just give up on pop music altogether.

So, it's great to come across someone like Edan, who's not just taking Hip-Hop down one idiosyncratic path, he's stretching it in every direction at once to see where it might break - which, seemingly, it rarely does. The fascinating thing is that, on his new LP, 'Beauty And The Beat', he does this relentlessly within thirteen tracks, few of which cross the three-minute mark. Pop music, see. The two tracks I've posted here contrast each other enough to give some idea of the LP's scope - 'Fumbling...' is a fairly straight-up (but really great) whirlwind dash through the early history of Hip-Hop, taking us from Kool Herc via Spoony G and Slick Rick up to GZA. 'Smile' couldn't be more different, sounding more like a two-minute distillation of the early history of guitar-based psychedelia. But really you need to hear the whole LP - it's stacked full of inventive samples, old-style tape echo, Minimoogs galore and generally more ideas than you thought it was possible to fit onto one record. Frankly, it's all over the place.

If you're a fan of the wordplay of Mos Def and Kweli, the goodtime funkiness of Jurassic 5 or ATCQ, the playfulness of the Beasties and De La Soul and the wonky psychedelia of Clouddead/Why?, you might just think he's onto something.

Buy - Edan - Beauty And The Beat

Visit - Edan - The Humble Magnificent

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