Edan - Echo Party

Edan, the Boston indie hip hop boy wonder with an intense servitude to obscure rap oldies and a killer disappearing act, has put down the mic and focused solely on his turntablism on Echo Party a mixtape he's been developing (presumably) for years now.  Apparently Traffic Entertainment Group let Edan run wild in it's archives, a veritable treasure of records from the period where hip hop was somewhere between disco, house, and the common breakbeat + MC oriented stuff we think of as the birth of the genre.  Edan has always been terse in all the right ways, and I can't imagine a more well structured 29 minute mix than this one.  It comes, it jamz, it goes into outer space and then it's done.  But it's a dense mix, samples fly by at an alarming rate, perhaps not quite as distracted as Girl Talk, and in general much smoother and less reflexively preoccupied with juxtapositions of genre.  Part of the glue of the whole thing is Edan's use of the echo taps.  It's a constant reminder there's an artist's hand twisting and mashing here.  What's amazing about this record is that he manages to let the samples speak for themselves and yet provides the framework to make them sound utterly new.  There are certainly distortions and intrusions and moments where you wonder if something in there is purely Edan (his previous records make sure the line between sample and production stays murky).  In the booklet that comes only with the CD or vinyl copy of the record, he has painstakingly delineated every sample and when its used in the booklet that comes only with the vinyl, and something tells me Edan has a pretty fierce ethic when it comes to materials so it's hard to tell what's what sometimes.  Devotees of Edan's rapping (I could take it or leave it) will certainly be disappointed by this release, especially having waited so long since the last, but this current incarnation plays so well to his strengths as a producer and un-anointed rap historian that I wish he'd been making these kinds of mixtapes all along.

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