Release Date: Nov 23, 2009
Record label: Lewis Recordings
There are times in a man’s life when he just gives in to all his inhibitions and cuts loose. Maybe it’s three tequilas too many, maybe it’s that girl across the room or maybe it’s the fact that the DJ is spinning something so ridiculously, infectiously, joyously rhythmic that it’s all he can do to prevent himself from literally spasming across the floor. I had that moment at an ATP festival, back in May, on a Friday night, and whilst I can’t confirm whether reason two had any part to play, I can verify that I had been drinking and more importantly, that Edan was on the decks.
For a dude who's been pegged as an old-school throwback, Edan's had this odd habit of turning hip-hop chronology into some kind of broken kaleidoscope. Just listen to the congealing synthesizers on "'83 Wildin" or the absinthe jazz piano of "Ultra '88 (Tribute)" from 2002's Primitive Plus and try to figure out just how they might've played in their real-world titular years-- not to mention 2005's Beauty and the Beat, which took its Bomb Squad-in-Beatles-wigs premise to a bewildering, psychedelic extreme. The fact that Edan's only rarely managed to create anything as memorable since then-- indeed, much of anything at all-- has remained one of underground rap's more nagging absences.
Four years on from his epochal sophomore release, Beauty and the Beat, and Edan‘s absence is palpable. Hip-hop fans recognize that his combination of oft-kilter humor, enthusiasm for '60s rock and psychedelic music, and impeccable technical abilities are a rare commodity and any new material from Mr. Portnoy is cause for celebration. Echo Party is not a traditional release, however, it is a continuous 30-minute mix sourced from old-school classics from the back catalog of Traffic Entertainment Group.Echo Party begins with the warm crackle of vinyl accompanying a classic Jazzy Five verse, sounding like a typical re-edit-athon in the vein of Peanut Butter Wolf’s perfunctory 45 Live set.
Remember the days when you would make a mixtape for your friend or that certain someone you were trying to get the attention of? No? OK, well, what about a mix CD? Well, however you answered those questions, bear with me. The mixtape (and mix CD) held a lot more meaning than a playlist in your iTunes. Because it was a tangible item, the mixtape was a (semi-)permanent memento.