JIMMY EDGAR – XXX (!K7/Border) CD REVIEW

Apparently Jimmy Edgar has, in the past, made several albums for the Warp label, which is famous for its good taste when it comes to electronic music. Good taste is not something that springs to mind when listening to XXX, an album of electro funk in which Edgar models himself as some kind of funking sex machine.

At first, as his Barry White-as-a-robot voice intoned lines like “Hot. Raw. Sex” I was just embarrassed. What stopped me from pressing the ‘stop’ button was the sinuous, sensual synth sounds reverberating and squelching their way through this rather nicely-recorded and mastered disc.

After a while it dawns on you: this is funny stuff. His embarrassing sex talk just has to be a kind of comedic wind-up, surely? Regardless of Edgar’s intent, his frequently vocodered utterings and mutterings are so hammy that you have to laugh, and after a while, it becomes a source of entertainment in itself.

But a fair proportion of XXX is vocal-free, and Edgar is a master at getting the best sounds from a battery of old synthesisers and drum machines and other paraphernalia. There’s nothing fussy about these tracks, but he squeezes maximum texture out of those synths, and gets them bleeping and blurting and squelching all over the show, to excellent effect.

Even the father’s of electro, Kraftwerk, weren’t averse to a bit of cheese, and Edgar’s cheese is pretty smelly. For all that, it’s an odour that isn’t entirely repellant, and for anyone who wants a hi-fidelity reproduction of an ancient (but very cool) musical genre, then XXX has to be recommended. GARY STEEL

SOUND = 4

MUSIC = 3.5

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