Album Review: edIT – Certified Air Raid Material


edIT – Certified Air Raid Material (Alpha Pup)

review by Alex Ruder

Certified Air Raid Material opens up with a journalist discussing the unique production techniques of LA’s Edward Ma aka edIT. He confesses: “Most people don’t even have a context for what it is and what kind of music you’re playing… How do you describe what it is that you do?” The interviewer’s inquiry fittingly transitions right into the bombarding beat of “Battling Go-Go Yubari in Downtown L.A.” and while neither edIT nor the journalist state it outright, I’ll go ahead and pinpoint the untapped territory that’s unleashed upon the sonic world on edIT’s beast of a sophomore album: hyphy glitch-hop.

While it’s not an entirely unexpected progression for Ma, it’s certainly a bigger sound than he showcased on Crying Over Pros For No Reason, his 2004 debut for Planet Mu Records. That initial offering found a perfect middleground between the intricate beat-chopping of Prefuse 73 and the melodic micro-sampling of Telefon Tel Aviv, resulting in an impressively mature record that was criminally overlooked upon its release and downright ideal for headphones.

His transition to the dancefloor was apparent nearly two years ago when he applied his trademark style on a remix of Usher’s universal club hit “Yeah!” While those stalking his MySpace page for new material may have been the few to notice this shift, Certified Air Raid Material finds edIT fully realizing the potential that co-exists between massive club hip-hop and the detail-oriented complexity of IDM.

Whereas hip-hop producers with similarly large styles—such as Timbaland and Scott Storch—need rappers to complement their arena-sized beats, edIT controls the spotlight on his own. Six of the album’s ten tracks are strictly instrumental (aside from brief but effective vocal samples) and each provides a bona fide highlight, with notable standouts emerging from the icy strings on “Straight Heat” and the brutal subterranean bass of the title track.

edIT shares the stage on four equally exciting cuts, handing the mic to fellow West Coast underground artists with their own distinct styles. Abstract Rude attempts to explain to his girlfriend that he’s not cheating on “Night Shift,” while Living Legends alum Grouch waxes philosophical on “Back Up Off the Floor, Pt.2 “ and the comical hipster-slaying track “Artsy Remix.” “Crunk De Gaulle,” the final track on the album, is an international party, with Busdriver trading verses with French hip-hop crew TTC, another group consistently destroying the boundaries between hip-hop and electronic.

For fans of beats, regardless of genre, Certified Air Raid Material is one of the most thrilling listening experiences of the year, ranking squarely alongside Justice and Kanye West as one of the most confident and BIGGEST sounding records of 2007.

Extra bonus: It’s an anti-war record! How’s that? you ask. edIT closes out the album by shining light on the album’s title, stating: “We don’t need any more bombs; except for bombs on the dancefloor.”

How can you not love that?

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