There was a time when the heart of the house nation was divided over two Todds. On one side was Todd Terry: master of the remix universe for years, New York legend, godfather of garage and hip-house, one of the most profitable DJs of the 90s. His fans worshipped him like a deity, and on the walls they wrote ‘Todd is God’, like the blues fans used to do with Eric Clapton. On the other side was Todd Edwards: from New Jersey, Edwards was not as attested as Terry, he was no media star, had no hits like “Jumpin’” and “Weekend” - but in the end, history has done right by him. Today, in 2012, if there is a God, it's this Todd: the other Todd, the one with the baseball cap on sideways. The man who - with a beat malleable like wax, a bass solid like marble and some pitched-up voices going up and down like a horse on a roundabout - helped shape the speed garage and 2step revolution in the UK, a merit only Armand Van Helden shares with him.
We're not going to go through Todd Edwards' complete discography here, because it's extensive and very detailed. But as from 1997, when vocals started to surface with the pitch radically changing - from the finest female highs to the distorted lows, in order to create a masculine feel, thus giving way to that unmistakable cadence of syllables riding a dynamic beat (from Dem 2 to Double 99 and from Burial to Girl Unit) - his influence is undeniable. Edwards hadn't released an album in six years (the tremendous “Odyssey”, named by Burial as his favourite album that year), and this new EP is one of the few he's put out since 2006, after a decade of frantic and underground activity, mostly on the legendary i! Records. Body High is a young label, and for now, it only releases its titles on digital. But the fact that there's no vinyl version doesn't mean we should ignore these here five bangers, on which God (the only one, the one who deserves the title most, for consistence and tenacity) goes all out, ready to elevate the libido and tense the muscles. There's nothing on “Shall Go” we haven't heard before - and better, on “Full On (Volume 2)”, the canonic Edwards-style garage album - but the great don't need to reinvent themselves over and over again, they only need to keep their unmistakable flame alive. “Shall Go” (the track) is a shining American garage gem in the vein of Romanthony, with that dragging, dark and nervous beat that makes Daft Punk and company drool. But it's with “The Stranger” that the best version of Edwards appears. With that mutant pitch and multi-coloured melodies of vocals cut up with a scalpel, with jazzy harmonies and warm soul. There are exciting reprises on “Echo Of The Past” and “Hold The Faith”, before an opaque track - darker garage, a necessary contrast to all the luxury - “This Generation”. On the verge of celebrating twenty years in the business, Todd Edwards confirms himself as the best house giant of those who are still active, along with Larry Heard.
Echo of the Past