CD, Hands Productions, 2010
When considering “Misfire”, the newest album from New York’s Edgey, try this hypothesis out for size: take your standard thousand monkeys and typewriters scenario, but exchange the staid, Elizabethan monkeys capable of reproducing “Hamlet” for a hundred rabid, Ebola-infected simians and pump the enclosed room full of airborne amphetamines, after removing the typewriters and replacing them with sequencers, drum machines and other analog instruments. Possibly even throw in a few cases of Red Bull, leave to simmer, and the end result may be something like this record. The frenetic, genre-bending, dementia-inducing aural attacks of Edgey are not something to be taken lightly, even by listeners with experience in the mad, mad world of breakcore-meets-gabber-meets-noize…
Tracks like “Floor Crank”, “Stress Failure” and “Chaosbane” (to name but a few) leave no neuron unturned in their relentless quest to rewire your neural pathways in their ‘scorched cerebrum’ approach to musical blitzkrieg. The legendary Belgian producer Hypnoskull said it better than I ever could back in 2001 – he could well have been describing the music of Edgey when he recorded “Electronic music means war to us”.
But this no-holds-barred barrage of noise is not all that makes up the artist currently known as Edgey; the opening track of the album, “Before the Storm”, is a hauntingly evocative and, dare I say it, beautiful composition. Careful balance leads to a gorgeously structured piece of music that is cinematic in scale and atmosphere. Undoubtedly my favourite offering on “Misfire”.
The reason the remainder of the record falls short comes down to its chaotic nature: I can look back at a lot of music that is fast, driven by a cymbal-based percussive line and still easily deciphered. A perfect example of this could be Frontline Assembly’s “Backlash”, off the “Epitaph” album – beautifully constructed, meticulously mastered and, in the end, a well-balanced song. “Misfire”, unfortunately, is not as carefully put together (even given that Edgey’s IDM/breakbeat approach can hardly be compared to what Bill Leeb has been doing for ever) – and its end result is overemphasis on the treble end, with tinny reverberations spoiling the whole and masking individual characteristics from track to track. This is not the only characteristic sound on the album, but due to its annoyance level, becomes the overwhelming one, and, sadly, this taints the entire album.
That said, “Misfire” is still lots of fun, and a great party record, but works better in a shuffled playlist than as a stand-alone album.
— David van der Merwe