Ah…. music blogging. It’s all about the present, the here and now. Just look at the Hype Machine’s popular searches if you don’t believe me. Sometimes though, it’s nice to go back and revisit albums in your collection: some you love, some you’ve forgotten, some you never appreciated in the first place. Edan’s 2005 album Beauty and the Beat falls into the latter category for me. I listened to it a few times but sometimes frame of mind, place or circumstance mean you don’t recognise how good it is the first time around, so it seems much more enjoyable now to finally get into it.
First off, Edan is an off the wall MC and a little bit abstract – never will he compare himself to the everyday when the supernatural will do. Listen to the psychedelic “Promised Land” with stellar references – “When I travelled through gravel and battled matter at the Earth’s core / I did the show on a fireball..” , “Put a nameplate on a asteroid belt”.
Musically, it’s some of the trippiest and most creative hip hop I’ve ever heard, each track segued by whirling blips and bleeps which suit the mood perfectly and really helps you appreciate the album first and foremost, rather than the songs individually. It’s got spacey basslines and rich samples galore (see “I see Colours” or “Beauty” for that Strawberry Fields sample) and is infused by so many genres it’s awe-aspiring. Mr. Lif pops up for a couple of verses on Making Planets and by the time he comes around, the song has gone supernova, Lif’s rhyme underpinned by a gorgeous driving melody that is beyond the realms of most independent hip hop producers. Edan is rightly pushing the boundaries of conceived notions of hip hop while giving a nod to the past. As he says on “I see Colours” – “Prince Paul already used this loop / but I’m gonna keep it moving / put you up on the scope now”
If you get the chance to see Edan live, don’t hesitate, because as the following excerpt will show you from the gig in Crawdaddy in October (along with Dagha) he puts on a helluva show. You can listen to the whole show on the excellent Choice Cuts site in the Events archive.