Unfortunately, maintaining such a conscious “brand” takes a lot of effort. Artists and sounds must fit the mold, otherwise you risk having fans turn on you. For a brand manager, the kiss of death is Dylan-goes-electric artistic waywardness, but clamp down too tightly and you end up with just more of the same, which is the problem with this compilation. Too many tracks here adhere to the generic fuzzy, skuzzy Ed Banger sound.
This is a transient album – one track follows another without any semblance of cohesion. The effect is schizophrenic: one minute you’ve got puerile, attitude-riddled lyrics (Uffie’s ‘Robot Oeuf’), the next unremarkable and gloopy electro (Mr. Oizo’s ‘Minuteman’s Pulse’), the next death-rock curdles that would make a young girl cry (Sebastian’s ‘Dog’). It’s telling that these tracks, which are the worst here, are the most recognizably Ed Banger.
The retro, lazy-ass swagger of Busy P, however, requires a little more attention – ‘To Protect And Entertain’ is analogue-laced hip-hop, not just a straight up Banger, and all the more interesting for it. The same goes for Justice’s ‘Stress’: More delicate than anything else here, it has a cartoon tension which swells until airy riffs surf high on a proggy wave of electro, gushing uncontrollably forth to become, no doubt, a big summer hit.
The urgency of Mr Flash’s ‘Over the Top,’ with its undulating bassy stomps and lofty synth lines is decent, too, proving that there is still quality within Ed Banger’s ranks. ‘No Cow, No Pow’ is a glimpse at the label’s enduring potential - an inquisitive window of glitchy frequencies and vocoders which lure you in and really hit the spot.
There’s a pattern emerging, isn’t there? The more intricate tracks, the ones that stray from the typical Ed Banger blueprint, are the standouts. It seems the less Ed Banger pursue their particular indie/dance brand, the more creativity they allow the artists.
In place of originality, of course, is loudness: your overall impression is of an instantly gratifiying, in-your-face wall of noise. Lack of subtlety never stopped a pop song from reaching the top of the charts, however, and no doubt the relentless of Ed Rec Vol. III will strike a chord with many.
Mon / 19 May 2008
Kristan J Caryl
01 Mr. Oizo - Yves
02 Busy P - To Protect And Entertain (feat. Murs)
03 Mr Flash - Over The Top
04 SebastiAn - Dog
05 Uffie - Robot Oeuf
06 Justice - Stress (Auto Remix)
07 Mr. Oizo - Minuteman’s Pulse
08 DJ Mehdi - Pocket Piano
09 Krazy Baldhead - No Cow, No Pow
10 DSL - Find Me In The World
11 Feadz - Back It Up (feat. Spank Rock)
12 So Me - Decalcomania