A.D.D. it up
Jimmy Edgar’s mind likes to wander.
By Joshua P. Ferguson
Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 09.09.10
Back in September, Spain’s pioneering music and multimedia festival, Sónar, took to Chicago with performances that span dubstep, ambient, techno and post-rock: basically, artists who are riding the front end of the bell curve of experimental and electronic music. Detroit’s Jimmy Edgar, who performed opening night, fit neatly in the midst of it all. Since he started deejaying and producing music at the tender age of 16, he’s steadily forged his own path through melodic techno, jittery glitch, electro-funk and his own brand of cosmic soul.
“It’s about changing it up and trying new things,” Edgar says. Reached on his cell while at his temporary home in Berlin, the 26-year-old adds, “I’m not interested in repeating anyone else’s process.” A restless soul, Edgar isn’t even willing to repeat his own process. While all his work bears the Edgar stamp—melodic, slightly off-kilter and hard to categorize—his early releases for progressive electronic label Warp fall to the IDM side of things, whereas his latest, June’s XXX, for !K7, sports a poppier sheen.
XXX has elements of his early days cavorting with Detroit techno colossus Derrick May and the glitch that originally captured the ears of Warp. It also oozes with the sexed-up funk that comes from listening to a lot of Prince, which Edgar reluctantly admits he’s done. When he’s asked about influences, it’s obvious Edgar doesn’t want to be painted into a corner or acknowledge his music is coming from anyone but him. He goes so far as to point out that he’s “just grown out of this thing where I didn’t want to listen to other music because I felt like it was ruining my inspiration.”
During our chat, most questions are met with an “I don’t know,” an “I guess” or a “sort of.” He almost seems to revel in being misunderstood. Across XXX there are allusions to sex, so the topic seems like the perfect avenue to get him to open up. On “Push,” he sings “let me see your body work” while a girl moans in the background. Songs like “Physical Motion,” “Hot, Raw, Sex” and, of course, the album’s title are self-explanatory. Yet he denies that XXX is an explicitly sexual record.