It’s abundantly clear from the outset of Jimmy Edgar’s new full length release that there is nothing subtle or implicit about what drives and defines his music. This is music geared towards dancefloor play and bedroom fun; you’d probably have to start questioning your principles if you found this a fitting headphone accompaniment to your behaviour during menial, everyday occurrences, unless of course, you’re seriously perverse. On the other hand, though raw in content and sensibility, this is rarely extended to the nature of the production which effectively and idiosyncratically adapts, glosses and sheens the wealth of influences and raw sensibility evoked, and it’s this productive preciosity which ensures a contemporary relevance, making Majenta’s seemingly retro, anodyne agenda a more worthwhile engagement than your standard imitator.
Like contemporaries Dam-Funk and Hudson Mohawke, Edgar is situated in a capsule in which the strident, promiscuous funk of Prince intermingles with the extravagant futurism of early electro. But unlike Dam and Hudson, there’s vigorous intensity and frequent though slight strokes of sonority and ambience which distinguish Majenta’s atmosphere as one reflective also, of the primordial conception of techno. It’s therefore likely to garner favour more significantly with dance crowds rather than those synonymous with the recent incarnations of Ross Birchard (Hudson) or Damon G. Riddick (Dam); though you could easily picture much of Majenta cropping up in a Soul Clap set, something which often negotiates the similarities and contrasts between the elements of electro, hip hop and techno with savvy.
As you can imagine, the array of influences on show doesn’t entail a conventional wholeness which trades in the gradual development of a gratifying progression, but instead involves the invocation of different generic elements which are selectively drawn upon throughout, resulting in more dynamic shifts between mood and intensity as opposed to a progressive ascent. Take the shift from the R&B slant of ‘Too Shy’; an ironic title for the bombastic funk-pop on show, to the propulsive techno of ‘This One’s for The Children’; all lyrical exaggerations of youth antipathy replete with echo and driven by harsh, pre-programmed percussion and jacking, Detroit synth lines. It’s clear from the start; the value of a measured progression isn’t one of Edgar’s concerns. ‘Take Me on a Sex Drive’, goes on to assert an overdosed lust which sounds like The Egyptian Lover took too much Viagra. Though, strangely enough, the explicitly charged nature of it doesn’t distastefully detract from the momentum and edge already established.
Subsequently added to this melting pot of styles is the juke of ‘Indigo Mechanix (3D)’ and the clipped vocals and prevalent bass-lines of the garage inclined ‘Let Yrself Be’. Interludes follow in the form of the high-pitched funk of ‘Touch Yr Bodytime’and probably the most restrained, sombre moment: ‘Hrt Real Good’. After these recesses, the pervasion of techno motifs continues in ‘Heartkey’ accompanied by Kraftwerk-esque vocals, and ‘In Deep’ brings Majenta to a close with G-funk tones eventually careering into a grand, distorted finale of fuzz and synth manipulations.
Although throughout Majenta the adept productive ability Edgar displays and the respect he obviously harbours for the styles he evokes is evident, it remains to be seen whether this ostentatious 80s fetishism will bear much longevity. On the whole though, his skill in imitation carries him through with the inclusion of his own brand of tongue-in-cheek sleaze. It’s not exactly one to ponder over, though I doubt that’s what Edgar desires. On the basis of Majenta it’s pretty clear what he wants.
By Tim Wilson