Son Raw writes for the ravers
The term “super group” may initially conjure up images of stoned hippies or rap crews who never manage to get their albums out, but honestly, there’s no better term to describe London’s Edgem. Comprised of Slew Dem legend JT the Goon, trapped out badman Dullah Beatz and engineer/newcomer Boylan, the Oil Gang affiliated crew/label has been premiering dubs via Boxed/radio for a hot minute now, swerving right despite the instrumental Grime scene’s moves towards abstraction. Yes, Edgem specialize in uncompromised 140 BPM bangers, and their sound is all the better for it.
It says a lot about how open and innovative the scene around Boxed has become that an EP full of hard hitting tracks can seem like a revelation, but with so many producers following their own personal muses (often to great results), I’ve been receiving more home listening material than club tracks over the past few months. Edgem’s secret Garden EP is the exception and feels like an exceptionally bold statement for forward-thinking electronic music in general thanks to its unabashedly digital production values and bombastic melodies, elements most producers have shied away from in the wake of EDM’s rise.
While much of the dance music world has responded to the mainstream’s frequency overload by fetishizing analog gear and vintage styles, Edgem show no fear of the drop – tracks like The Matrix tackle big room Dubstep on its own terms, substituting predictability for next level rhythms without sacrificing accessibility. As crazy as it is to imagine, I would not be mad if this stuff caught on with people currently in thrall of “riddim” or whatever the Dubstep middle-stream is into right now.
The title track and the appropriately titled The Anthem take things even further, merging JT’s Sinogrime sound to big dutty stomping trap and off kilter LFO riffs respectively. The results are tracks that blaze new paths through territory a lot of underground producers would be scared to tread: who the hell else can combine grandiose Chinese-opera melodies to wobbling bass lines in 2015? More poignantly, who can do it in a way that sounds totally fresh in the post-Brostep era? If anything, Edgem’s Secret Garden EP is a reminder that London’s rave music wouldn’t have been the same without it’s full on, crank it up to 11 side: from The Prodigy, to Ed Rush & Optical, to Slew Dem, to Skream and Benga: you can’t forget the hardcore, a tradition Edgem contribute to in a convincing fashion.