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V/A - Ed Rec Vol. 1

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Artist: V/A

Album: Ed Rec Vol. 1

Label: Ed Banger/Vice

Review date: Feb. 6, 2007

Run by former Daft Punk manager Pedro Winter, Ed Banger lands in the U.S. thanks to Vice perhaps as an attempt to offset DFA-dominance with headbanging French house. For half of Ed Rec Vol. 1, the label’s first American compilation, the visiting team is victorious.

The grease of unshaven faces, dried sweat and beer-grimed sneaker soles coats much of Ed Rec Vol. 1. Opener “Radar Rider” from Mr. Flash is pure basement sci-fi: video arcade bleeps and galactic FX flitting over crunched Marshall-stack chunks and a lumbering cosmic kit whose warped cymbals flange along to a Moogy slither. The Jackos remix of Zongamin’s “Bongo Song” is a delight of a similarly blotted lineage. Frantic hand-smacked percussion and a sputtering fuzz bass rumble under delinquent analog squiggles and weirdo textures. But it’s the sawtooth chomp of Sebastian and Justice’s jackhammered robot rock that reign supreme. If Daft Punk were once thought nuance-deprived and raw by the chin-strokers and shape-throwers, the blown-fuses and exploded sequencers of this new generation reassigns the coordinates on techno’s Y-axis. Zero may have never been this low before. Their full-volume mechanics are so far into the red that everything dissolves into crackling fuzz toxins.

But sandwiched between all these pungent textures there are plenty of bland pseudo-flavors. “Theme From Vicarious Bliss” inexplicably appears twice. Its original version, naturally by Vicarious Bliss, is all payphone-voiced dance-punk verses punctuated by a wholly generic “big” chorus which Justice mercifully excises for their cooled but pointless remix. There’s the hectoring flow of Krazy Baldhead and diced-up, warmed-over booty beats by Pedro Winter himself (as Busy P). Then there’s Uffie. Her “Pop the Glock” finds flimsy couplets of slang spittle plunking along Feadz’s able, albeit uninspired, sputtering groove. Shadowed by a rampant vocoder, her proclamation that “crunk and grime / that’s my bloodline” just sounds positively opportunistic.

A label of extremes, Ed Banger probably can never reconcile their oversaturated Neanderthrottle or their entourage’s plundered wares and dancefloor posturing. But at least, in blinding flashes, Ed Rec Vol. 1 is infernally brilliant.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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