Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
The search for psychedelic obscurities typically involves diving deep into the morass of almost lost records from the late 60's and early 70's. Not many think of searching modern hip-hop, but he were find an album that bends the spectrum of sound just as much as the likes of something like the Soft Machine or Syd Barrett. I think any open-minded psych fan needs to give this a close listen.
Edan is an emcee and producer coming out of a vibrant Boston underground scene. While he was able to firmly secure his hip-hop credentials on the 80's filtered freak out of Primitive Beat, he uses the stranger sounds of the 60's for Beauty And The Beat. There are plenty of shimmering, mangled samples at work here, as well as several layers of echoplexed effects.
Typically on a hip-hop album, the introduction track is easily skipped, but here "Polite Meeting" is a firm declaration of intention, introducing Edan's kaleidoscopic, harpsichord-laced, acid-drenched sound. Let "Funky Voltron" act as your litmus test. Yes, there are some rhymes here, although Edan and guest Insight are definately exploring some surreal territory, but the sound is superb funked-out psychedelia.
Edan continues to breathe new life into the strange reverberations of "I See Colours" and "Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme." Yes, this is hip-hop and throws enough dirty word that you might not want to play it for your kids, but the choruses make it out of the 60's with some new sound enhancements and I feel that the artistry at work here demands attention.
Other highlights include the almost scary "Torture Chamber" and the flipped out "Science Of The Two." Edan rapping rarely makes sense, but he bends words in strange ways that echo the lyrical experiments of such illuminaries as 1967 Lennon and the afore mentioned Barrett.
The best is saved for last. "Promised Land" greets the listener with, of all things, an easily listening sample. Edan rips into an impassioned delivery about God knows what, but holding the listener's attention masterfully.
I know that this is not going to be the average psych listener's cup of tea. If you've got any tolerance for hip-hop at all though, you need to give Edan your ear and hopefully appreciate his strange warping and innovative approach to psychedelia. As the opening sample proclaims, "Just open your ears and listen."
Edan - 2005 - Beauty And The Beat