Switched On: Jimmy Edgar – Cheetah Bend (Innovative Leisure)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Jimmy Edgar has been far from idle in his music making over the last decade, but this is his first completed album in nine years. Cheetah Bend is a mixture of solo cuts and collaborations, with vocalists Danny Brown, Rochelle Jordan, B La B and Hudson Mohawke adding their vocal talents to Edgar’s electronic workings.

What’s the music like?

Those electronic workings are fascinating, building on Edgar’s work with a hybrid of styles. Techno is prominent in his thoughts, but so is hip hop and big room R&B. The latter skill is used to great effect on Metal and Turn, where corrugated warehouse beats provide the ideal offshoot to the excellent vocals.

In addition to those mentioned above, Millie Go Lightly coos on Be With You, while Danny Brown’s contribution on Get Up gees the listener up for the album, aping James Brown’s Get Up Offa That Thing with the lyric ‘you gotta do better’. It’s a really good interpretation of a song that hits the sweet spot between tribute and remix. The bigger beats of Cheetah work well with Semma’s vocal, as does Ready2Die, fronted by Messer, which becomes something of a torch song. The single Bent, released last year, hits the treble hard too:

Happily Edgar goes for a P-funk excursion on Zigzag, the best instrumental cut on the album, while the glitchy Curves signs off with typically liquid grooves.

Does it all work?

Yes. Edgar evokes a dark club where sweat runs down the walls because everyone’s dancing, and his clever way with beats keeps things interesting and extremely varied. The influences of Prince, Funkadelic, Timbaland and Detroit techno are just some elements at play in music that sounds like it could be a derivative mish mash of styles, but actually turns out to be far more original and interesting.

Is it recommended?

It certainly is. Jimmy Edgar is always on the prowl – and as the title suggests, Cheetah Bend is a sleek beast looking for a kill. It succeeds effortlessly here.

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