Following years of collaborations and production for others, Jimmy Edgar makes his return to solo work with his new album Cheetah Bend, due out on February 26via Innovative Leisure, the label also responsible for his recent J-E-T-S output with Machinedrum. Recorded over the past few years in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, and beyond, it draws as much upon his vibrant 15+ year discography as a producer on the bleeding edge of electronic music as it does his burgeoning ubiquity in rap circles. Coming eight years after Majenta, the album improbably synthesizes what might seem like disparate styles, unspooling fresh perspectives and glistening sound design that flaunts genre rules while respecting genre spirit. “The value I bring is hybridization,” Jimmy explains of his approach. “I think about different universes of sound coming together to create an entirely new domain of knowing.”
Building upon his prior collaborative endeavors, not the least of which being the various EPs released on his own Ultramajic imprint throughout the 2010s, Cheetah Bend finds Jimmy working in tandem with a veritable vanguard of forward-thinking artists towards his unique vision. “SOPHIE and I spent time together trading files, sounds and techniques, developing a new kind of version of modal synthesis,” Jimmy says of having used resonators and delays to emulate sonic environs akin to pipes, tunnels, and vibrating sheets. Cheetah Bend also achieves its ethos with the aid of some well-placed vocal guests. Danny Brown does irreparable microphone damage to “Get Up,” a tough love motivational set to springy synth flourishes and bass rattling. Toronto singer Rochelle Jordan, a recent J-E-T-S collaborator, imbues the lithe R&B suite “Crank” with her breathy delivery, while Atlanta trapper B La B spits streetwise singsong over a rugged and snappy beat. And nowhere is this collaborative spirit better expressed than in advance single “Bent” on which TNGHT’s Hudson Mohawke adds inflections to Jimmy’s signature bass rattle.
Over the course of the last decade-and-a-half, the Detroit native has proven both a celebrated favorite and consistent fixture of dance music in its multitudinous forms. Since first emerging onto the scene as a prodigious teen via early pseudonymous offerings for respected electronic labels like Merck, he broke out properly under his own name in 2004 on Warp Records. His recent move from the dance music mecca of Berlin to the sunnier climes of Los Angeles proved a turning point in an already formidable career of artistic exploration. Relocating stateside altered his perspective once again, exposing him to a wider musical universe, including modern mainstream hip-hop and R&B that had been overshadowed while living overseas. Before long, he was producing for everyone from former Danity Kane singer DAWN to erstwhile Odd Future associate Vince Staples.