Crying Over Pros For No Reason
For me, the best part of glitch-hop is the name. Seriously, ‘glitch-hop’..just say that a few times. Of all the plays on ‘hip-hop’ (drip-hop, skip-hop, trip-hop), glitch is my favourite. Besides kickass nomenclature, glitch-hop is also worth your time because of its quickly growing pool of dedicated and talented artists. More importantly, by getting into this specialized form of glitch, you will be exposed to the many other sub-categories (at least four other types to get your glitch on).
In 2004, Edward Ma a.k.a edIT (formerly known as ‘The Con Artist’) released his first solo album, Crying Over Pros for No Reason, on Planet Mu. Coming out almost exactly a year after fellow glitch-hopper Prefuse 73′s One Word Extinguisher (Warp; 2003), it bears little resemblance to that record at all. After listening to the albums back-to-back, it becomes apparent that Ma is far more interested in exploring glitch within a series of solid, well-developed and related tracks, as opposed to Herren’s (Prefuse) hollistic approach that results in 29- track albums. As such, Crying Over Pros may seem poppier because of this more traditional album structure, but there are actually better reasons as to why it seems that way.
Fundamentally, edIT takes more of a cue from trip-hop than any thing. He is not very concerned with slicing up vocal samples or making you think your music player is skipping. What he is concerned with is cultivating mood. On opener “Ashtray”, sombre acoustic guitar picking and synth provide a guiding template on which cut-up noise skitters and percolates, seemingly sombre too. “Laundry” opens with the initial 20 seconds sounding like Fennesz at his calmest, but soon drops a glitched-up hip-hop beat worthy of Portishead’s self-titled or Boards of Canada’s “The Campfire Headphase“. “Dex” stands out as well due to the use of a female vocal sample “Ah”‘ing in and out.
While ‘breaking new ground’ is the accolade of a great album for so many critics, Crying Over Pros for No Reason achieves this in an unorthodox way. Instead of pushing glitch-hop further into obscurity and cutting it up beyond recognition, edIT demonstrates how creating something new can involve embracing established conventions, i.e. the pop song/album structure and interest in tone and mood.
For IDM fans, this is glitch-hop goodness.
Click on the album cover to listen to the track ‘Ants’
~ by baseclef on June 24, 2009.