Rekid: Made In Menorca
Soul Jazz Records

As richly detailed and fantastically coloured as the Don Eddy paintings donning its cover, Made in Menorca is Matt Edwards' (aka Radio Slave) maiden outing under the Rekid name. One is immediately struck by the auspicious opener “Lost Star 6,” especially when it so deftly sidesteps easy pigeonholing. What begins as a simple dance pulse soon morphs into a dub exercise, with Edwards weaving a burbling bass motif in amongst percussive splashes while fading tones echo into infinity. As strong as it is, “Lost Star 6” is matched by “Diamond Black,” where tonal waves drift over a skipping shuffle as staccato chords intermittently punctuate the billowing sound mass. The tune's unassuming ambiance belies the wealth of intricate detail Edwards assembles. It's a slow builder that, like Rekid's music in general, fuses elements of techno, dub, hip hop, house, and electro into a refreshingly original and sophisticated electronic dance hybrid.

Virtually every piece evidences some degree of distinction: the visionary electro epic “85 Space” pulsates furiously, a future-house groove sails gloriously through “Retro Active” (Edwards even subtly sneaks in a wah-wah part that recalls the electrified trumpet of On The Corner), and “Tranzit” boosts its rocking electro-funk with Bootsy bounce and clavinet. In addition, there's a becalmed dubscape (“Priya”), futuristic hip-hop (“Nite”), and roiling synth-techno (“Cairo”), all executed with aplomb. In a masterful final stroke, Edwards builds the plodding tribal stomp of “Legend” into an anthemic outro. In fact, the album's so consistently arresting, one barely notices its overly-generous, 70-minute length. Made in Menorca is a triumph for Edwards, naturally, but for Soul Jazz too. Would that every electronic dance release could be so accomplished.

August 2006