It seems like forever since LA’s Edward “edIT” Ma dropped his debut Crying Over Pros For No Reason on Planet Mu in 2004, but his style of party-jam glitch can certainly warp one's sense of space and time. Coming out of the gate with that kind of velocity is bound to tweak the frame of reference for anyone caught in its path. That debut struck a glitchy but smooth atmospheric electronic chord with me, one I didn’t even know I had at the time. In fact, someone actually had to point out to me that the music was based in hip-hop -- since I was already floating balls-deep in all the slick Kaoss, I didn't even notice. Sure, he had been touring steady since its release, a couple remixes surfaced online, and I got to see him perform some of this new material at Nelson’s raver epic Shambhala in 2005, but otherwise no one heard a peep from him from then till now. The answer to the obvious question is: yes, it was worth the wait.
While Crying Over Pros bordered on seemingly heartfelt, love-based emotion, the differently serious Certified Air Raid Material is Ma’s unite-after-war album, using the unmistakable aggression of U.S. club hip-hop beats as a reflection of the world’s continually spiraling political climate. Yeah, the pinpoint sample torture and Kaoss Pad tweaks are as smooth as ever, but this is blatantly hip-hop, bolstered by the appearances of Busdriver, TTC, and The Grouch of Livin’ Legends infamy.
The mainstream rap influence is obvious, making what he does with it that much smarter. While Scott Storch would use small-groove samples and synth-leads for an average track's foundation (more than comfortable continually looping the same bit, while Fiddy blathers incoherently and pointlessly over it for the entire four-minute song), Edward creatively molests for the duration till you just can’t come any more. Some hapless Eminem fanboy could easily find themselves listening to “Straight Heat” and think nothing unordinary about the canned-strings intro, until the five layers of phatn synth bassline kicks in and the carefully executed stutters penetrate your mind and body like a notorious Socrates-entourage gang rape. Buddy would be spazzing out to Squarepusher and Venetian Snares in Athens’ downtown east side by the end of the year.
Seeing edIT bit-mangle The Grouches’ “Artsy Remix” live in front of a couple thousand stoned hippies remains one of my all-time favorite festival moments. Nobody seemed to notice lines like “You just a trendy lesbian, dreadlocked thespian/ You ain’t artsier than me/ ‘Cause you make weed brownies and knit wool hats,” as everyone, all the hipsters and faux-hippies in the crowd, got served, yet kept on dancing anyway. The proof is in the pudding. Don’t be fooled by false idols, ‘cause edIT is the true way. Respect.