Jimmy Edgar’s sonic couture hits the HiFi
Detroit native Jimmy Edgar is a producer designer photographer and multi-instrumentalist who has been stitching beats since he was just 10 years old. Upon coming of age in 2001 the musical prodigy and budding experimental percussionist was snapped up by his first record label Warp. Since then Edgar’s hypno-tronic tracks on his full-length debut My Mines I and the two EPs that followed shortly thereafter have steadily beckoned waves of fans onto the dancefloor.
Twenty-nine this year Edgar is widely regarded as the king of sleazy remixes and is lauded for his funk-tinged interpretations of everyone from Prince and Michael Jackson to Theophilus London and Purple Crush. Deep drastic and beyond brilliant there’s no doubt that the audio innovator’s spirited refitting of Jacko’s “Billie Jean” would do the “black dudes” who taught him to play the piano at the Baptist church in Detroit proud.
“I’m a tech freak” Edgar says of his artistic wellspring. “I change up my techniques so I don’t get bored. I am currently assembling a wall of modular synths. I like the physical aspect and the idea of plugging in my own synth sound. Plus all the best movie soundtracks… fuck all the best sounds you’ve ever heard electronic were done with modular synthesis. I can’t even describe how big of an obsession this is for me.”
Buzzing with inspiration Edgar’s second full-length album and first for Germany’s !K7 label swings with opulence and vice. Drawn from the DJ’s affection for R&B jazz funk and hip-hop XXX drags the mix-maestro’s desire for hard-edged action into the radio-ready lamplight. Here amped-up porno-tronic funk goes downtown on raunchy pop montages that promise “Hot Raw Sex” and slow-grinding “Physical Motion” to club-going throngs.
“ XXX is Detroit meets NYC” Edgar explains. “I did most of it while I was in some turbulent relationships and dark times in NYC and to me it shows that. My new work is symbolism alchemics occult influences through the eyes of beauty. I really like when I can communicate with somebody through the use of symbols photos and cryptic sentences…. It’s a really special thing well because I’m also really shy. But when you can create tension and attraction through the use of these things that’s a separate connection/communication. You can see it in their eyes. There’s always a few gloomy-eyed people in the front that you can tell are so enthralled.”
For the gifted audio innovator who began plying his trade at illegal raves and as an underage strip club MC the opportunity to make the quantum leap from the nightclubs of Detroit and New York to the warm afterglow of Berlin’s red-light district was simply irresistible. “It feels less serious and more immature in Berlin” Edgar says. “Detroit is real serious and weirdly sophisticated yet totally trash. Berlin seems like new hippie vibe or something…. I was amazed when I came here how people really listen to techno. It reminded me of the rock ’n’ roll of Detroit — it’s actually cool to like dance music. It was culture shock for me in a lot of ways moving here to Berlin… but that’s what has kept me here and interested. My German friends must think I am crazy.”