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Jets EP

[Leisure System; 2012]

By ; November 8, 2012 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

At first glance, Jimmy Edgar and Travis Stewart aren’t obvious bedfellows. There’s nothing about their individual work that’d put the idea of collaboration in mind. Edgar releases raunchy (kinda off-putting, to be honest) sexbot electro and synth pop colored a gleefully garish pink and purple while Stewart has been knocking down genre pins since the early 00s as Machinedrum, most recently coming out for footwork and drum’n’bass on last year’s masterful Room(s) via Planet Mu as well as all manner of UK bass and house mutations as one half of Sepalcure on Hotflush. Weirder still is the duo’s first EP together as Jets is being released via the Berghain-affiliated Leisure System. But the truth is Edgar and Stewart are longtime friends and Jets sounds like two producers–despite their aesthetic differences–exceedingly familiar with each other’s work locking into a fast, like-minded groove.

If anything, Jets skews closest to Stewarts’ work with Praveen Sharma as Sepalcure, bounding through a kind of post-everything take on London hardcore sounds with a relentless, abstracted house undertone. But the surfaces here are sleeker and shinier, its edges more lush and coagulated and the EP often squeaks into foamy rave territory. Edgar’s 80s electofunk allegiances are an obvious tonal driver, especially in the synths and vocals, while Stewart’s dexterous and staggered, hook-flipping, turn-after-turn approach is set to overdrive. The EP finds an obvious center where the two producers slide into a single complimentary unit. Edgar adds some playful swagger and vibrancy to Stewart’s singular, hard-edged momentum, while Stewart keeps the aesthetics from becoming overbearing.

The EP only has four tracks, but each stands out. “In Her City” sidles in with a jumpy kick and some fragmented dub chords before some juke-y synths start to crash against a whistling, synthesized vocal hook the color of a spreading bruise. The track somehow expands into a twinkling synth nebula by its end, the tiny crunchy percussion suddenly seismic and reverberating. “Sin Love With You” is a jerky funk house waltz, scattered vocal samples jumping to life in spurts before they’re turned into a chorus rotating around a beautiful two chord melody. Then the duo warp the track’s particulars into a splintered, acrobatic web. “Meu” is a cyclone of sagging bass and sleep-addled vocals, touching on the breathless footwork of Room(s) and pirouetting glitch-hop of ealier Machinedrum before it morphs into a heaving firestorm. “Lock Lock Key Key” is a steady, clacking buildup before it jumps into a serene star field of vocals and fertile synths somehow ending with the whole thing glitched into nothingness.

Jets is an exciting first step for a collaboration made all the more potent by how both producer’s differences somehow compliment each other, melding into something coherent and whole. The EP is a collage of vibrant colors and unexpected turns and, as has been Stewart’s MO of late, a complete abduction and reworking of sounds that have become more than familiar in 2012. With Edgar in tow, the EP finds a fresh lilting edge to play with. Hopefully, this won’t be the last we hear from Jets.


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