5 out of 5
Label: Magnetron Music
Produced by: Ed DMX (?)
Given the amount of material Ed Upton puts out, and how much of it gets frequent revisits from me, I do not say this lightly: Serious is one of Ed’s most consistently fun and funky releases in quite a while.
As DMX Krew, I don’t know how picky Ed is about the labels on which he appears, but I do think it tends to say something; I’ll normally find other stuff to like based on investigating a roster if he’s included. So: it feels noteworthy when a DMX release happens on a label with which I’m unfamiliar, though to be fair, that’s like 9000 million labels in the electro space.
But exploring ‘Magnetron Music,’ it looks like a pretty curated roster; Ed showing up there does truly seem noteworthy, even beyond my ignorance. Checking out some other stuff on the label, indeed: this is some ace house, working in an interesting vibe that I wouldn’t doubt was influenced by some of Ed’s stuff in this space – some 80s hip-hop and disco influencing simple, enjoyable beats that are “secretly” effected with a lot of skill.
It’s fantastic how well Serious slots into this, and also plays two sides of a coin: it’s retro, video-game funk, but also somewhat denser than a lot of Ed’s dancefloor workouts, giving it a cross-generational vibe of yesterday and today, packed in its fitting illustrated cover art of mayhem outside while (presumably) Ed plies away at his music indoor.
The A-side of the EP pushes hard on this video game ethos, the opener almost wholly of a 90s chiptune vibe to the extent that I probably wouldn’t have picked it as a DMX Krew track. But it gets intriguingly nuanced towards its conclusion, which is a pattern the following tracks use as well. On the B-side, though, Ed flicks the switch: these are DMX tracks, undeniably, but maintain the gamey aggressive bop, the aforementioned denseness, and then also switch over to a slightly darker mood – boss levels; end levels.
It’s always a good sign when these things end leaving you wanting more, while each individual song doesn’t feel like it’s shorted. The other side of this is that DMX tracks occasionally go on too long, but everything here is just right – lots of variation without being showy; funky without being kitschy. A great electro release, and one of Ed’s recent bests.