Jimmy Edgar - Cheetah Bend Music Album Reviews

Jimmy Edgar - Cheetah Bend Music Album Reviews
Pairing experimental sound design with varied rap and R&B features, the Detroit producer’s hyperpop-tinged LP doubles as a tribute to the spirit of SOPHIE, his late friend and collaborator.

Before he was old enough to attend clubs as a punter, Detroit’s Jimmy Edgar was cupping headphones to his ears behind the decks, DJing shoulder to shoulder with hometown heroes like Juan Atkins. In the 17 years since he signed to Warp as a teenager, his style has grown alongside his voracious tastes, encompassing IDM, mutated synth funk, and, most recently, hip-hop. Edgar channels that lifetime of songwriting and sound manipulation into his fourth album, Cheetah Bend. The veteran electronic producer’s take on the genre-clashing freneticism of hyperpop, it doubles as a celebration of SOPHIE, his late friend and collaborator, to whom the album is dedicated and whose influence abounds.
Where Edgar’s last solo album, 2012’s Majenta, mostly dealt in sweaty, hedonistic dance music, Cheetah Bend is a more eclectic mix that leans heavily on collaboration, bringing a new featured artist to nearly every song. This reflects his own shifting circumstances; the onetime Berlin resident moved back to the United States some years ago, setting up shop in Los Angeles and holding additional recording sessions in Atlanta and Detroit. Just like other club mavens who became rap producers, like Brodinski before him, Edgar took himself out of his techno comfort zone to immerse himself in the music scenes that inspired him. He put away his modular rig and hung up the patch cables, locking himself away in the studio for years in an effort to learn how to apply his musical talents to more mainstream genres.

The marriage of Edgar’s unbridled experimental production sensibilities with guest turns from rising rappers and R&B singers is rarely transcendent, but it manages to stay interesting throughout. From Atlanta rap star 24hrs’ verses on the bouncy highlight “NOTICE” to relative unknowns like the mysterious Messer, who lends an exhilarating, euphoric counterweight to the otherwise menacing “READY2DIE,” the features best define this new pop-friendly era of Jimmy Edgar. Not every collaboration is so seamless—on “GET UP,” fellow Detroiter Danny Brown’s self-help mantras teeter awkwardly atop a trundling beat—but for the most part, Edgar understands that the best electronic “producer albums” strike a fine balance with their arrangements so that guest vocalists don’t end up feeling like interlopers. He knows when to pull back to austere minimalism in order to accommodate them, and he knows when to flex his sound-design chops to boost them to the next level.

The guests here who have released music with Edgar in the past seem to have the best idea of the world he’s trying to build with his music. Rochelle Jordan, who previously graced Edgar and Machinedrum’s joint J-E-T-S album ZOOPSA in 2019, lends a sultry breathiness to the low-light synths and slo-mo breaks of “CRANK.” B La B, another Atlanta artist who Edgar released an entire mixtape with last year, delivers Cheetah Bend’s most memorable rap feature on “TURN,” a hurtling bass-bin rattler whose metallic, squiggly percussion evokes SOPHIE’s early singles.

SOPHIE’s presence is intimately felt across these songs, in more ways that one. “METAL,” a collaboration between the two artists, sounds like it’s been lifted directly from the PRODUCT era, perhaps retrofitted from an early version that leaked online several years back. Similar sound-design techniques distinguish “ZIGZAG,” the Millie Go Lightly collaboration “BE WITH YOU,” and the back half of “CHEETAH” This should come as no surprise: The two producers were longtime friends who first bonded in the early 2010s over their shared love of the Elektron Monomachine, the hardware synthesizer/sequencer used to summon the squelching, alien sounds that would become the late artist’s sonic signature. It was SOPHIE who introduced Edgar to Vince Staples, which resulted in one of Big Fish Theory’s best songs (“745”) and opened the door a bit wider for Edgar as a rap producer in his own right.

It’s a testament to the long-standing creative relationship between the two, as well as Edgar’s own unique sensibilities, that his new work is so clearly influenced by SOPHIE yet never feels like he’s biting the Scottish producer’s style. SOPHIE always believed that electronic music—even in its harshest, most challenging forms—could break through to the mainstream and make pop weirder, fresher, and better than ever. Edgar carries that torch forward in his attempt to bridge the gap between the underground rave and the strip joint, the avant-garde and the crowd-pleasers. Cheetah Bend doesn’t always hit the mark, but when it does, it evokes a thrilling future of club music without borders.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Jimmy Edgar - Cheetah Bend Music Album Reviews Jimmy Edgar - Cheetah Bend Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 10, 2021 Rating: 5


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