After two fantastic EPs in 2004’s Access Rhythm and last year’s Bounce, Make, Model, Detroit wunderkind Jimmy Edgar makes his full-length debut with Colorstrip. Opening the album with “Pret’ a’ Porter,” Edgar creates a beautiful mixture of glitch, downtempo, and commercial garage, somewhat akin to Cylob, the Artful Dodger, and Nightmares on Wax in unison. “My Beats” occupies more synthesized territory: sleazy mineshaft vocals spout non-entities over a mixture of Playgroup and Daft Punk. There’s a disturbing parallel to be drawn with the singing and that on Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy,” but the backdrop here is sublimely jaded.
Next up, two tracks from Bounce make a welcome return. “I Wanna Be Your STD,” a sinister hybrid of early NERD and Global Goon, shines in places the listener probably doesn’t want to go. “LBLBDetroit” is a wonderful dubby affair that recalls Isaac Hayes, the Wild Bunch and a livelier Zero 7. “Personal Information” is another outstanding tune. It makes me think of hands at shoulder height, sounds sinfully cheesy, and stylish with it. It makes me think Arthur Baker. On the other hand, “Teletraux” sounds nightmarish, and quite reminiscent of über-geeky sci-fi fandom. I had to resist the urge to press the skip button on that one, admittedly. Truly disconcerting stuff. Alarm bells keep swinging.
Thankfully “Hold It Attach It Connect It” is another joy to listen to, almost a chill-out mix of Squarepusher and New Order. “Jefferson Interception” recalls Sweet Exorcist and Just Create’s first Northern Lights compilation. “Of the Silent Variety” provides a house collage post-decompression. It’s one of the best expressions of maudlin ecstasy I’ve heard since Bent’s The Everlasting Blink. I’ll write that “Semierotic” marries minimalist percussion and squelching synths perfectly, but I’ll feel like a muppet because it really just makes the po-faced listener want to dance.
Colorstrip is a record that largely delights, occasionally confounds or excruciates, and always impresses. On rare occasion Edgar’s visions might have made me watch my lunch or my shirt sleeve, but there’s a bucket load here that’s emotive. Usually it’s quite positive. This is one of the best albums I’ve heard on Warp, and the earliest great one I’ve reviewed for the New Year.
Bent- Programmed to Love
Just Create Records-Ambient Northern Lights Volume One