The most obvious source of intrigue for Jimmy Edgar’s latest EP lies in the presence of the late Footwork pioneer DJ Rashad’s vocals. And, while Rashad’s influence is more obvious in the work of Edgar’s JETS partner Travis Stewart’s Machinedrum project, it is clearly audible in Saline’s vocal samples and unrepentant floor-moving structures.
The opening ‘Burn’ openly declares its aims as a mid-set stomper and is all the better for it. It’s not subtle or even particularly original, but with its anthemic central vocal it’s sure to be effective. Rashad’s influence becomes clear when the vocal snippets that dominate ‘Decalcify’ are joined by assaultive triplets midway through, building to the inevitable drop. In the hands of the best Footwork producers these are party-starting signifiers, but Edgar manages to conjure the same rush of blood by folding them into the propulsive rhythms of the sort of big room Techno tune he has come to master.
‘Walk Show’, featuring Rashad’s manipulated voice, is admirable in that it’s probably the weirdest track you’re at all likely to hear in a festival headline set this year, but no number of ‘yeahs’ can conceal the unimaginative percussion palette. Fortunately, closer ‘Who’s Watchin’ is as gloriously fun as its psychedelic cat video thinks it is, Edgar’s own rapid-fire vocal sample and unreserved, invitational synth stabs cresting atop a playful bassline.
Rashad’s great legacy will be how he married a whirling, high speed instruction to dance with real depth of feeling. Like Burial on his seminal Untrue, Rashad’s Double Cup warps and contorts the voices of others to sing from the heart, and does so over a musical backing that at first glance would seem entirely at odds with that mission. Edgar is both too wedded to the throb of Techno and unwilling to lift the curtain of the mystique he’s created to ever show such vulnerability, and that look is working fine for him. He’s a showman, but here, as ever, he’s not about to show you what’s on the inside.
‘Saline’ is available to order here now