Ed Banger Records puts out razor-sharp Technicolor dance pop that yearns for four in the morning and aims to make you feel cool while dancing. What, then, is the point of listening to this collection, the second from the boutique label currently serving as America’s ambassador to the ultra-hip French dance scene, outside the club? I’ll tell you: Sure, the utility of bass-thumping anthems is devalued if it’s light out, but if the same beats make your bleary-eyed, no-seat-on the-subway ass want to move at nine in the morning, it’s a sure thing they’ll smash you over the head when you’re drunk and frisky. That’s a litmus test in the same way that hip-hop producers demoing new tracks on their broke friend’s shitty car stereos is.
The label’s already got its breakout act in Justice, the deejay duo that struck gold with a remix of Simian’s “We Are Your Friends” (which spawned not only a brilliantly lo-fi, heavy on slo-mo-airborne-cat-footage video but also, as you may recall, a brilliantly drunken Kanye West rant. “Phantom,” Justice’s contribution to the collection, explains why. The two sound as if they’re riding your dad’s busted bass amp to snare-clap mid-tempo groove perfection.
And it seems the rest of the crew has learned a thing or two from their spot-lit counterparts. DJ Mehdi’s “Stick It” and Mr. Flash’s “Disco Dynamite” pile on the heavy squiggles, bleats, and blasts without dropping out the rock-solid minimalist drum-machine beats; it’s aurally adventurous without being messy. Even when Krazy Baldhead indulges every-which-way whimsy on “Strings of Death,” he makes sure to follow his trail of breadcrumbs back to the beat.
Ed Rec, Vol. 2 wants to operate as a teaser album, especially for the live shows of the acts featured. Consider us teased.