Todd Edwards At Icee Hot, July 30th

Having MK on the bill for Icee Hot’s July 30th bash is reason enough to get excited, but couple that with the fact that Todd Edwards is on there too and you know this is going to be a winning night. Edwards and MK put out some of the most forward-looking house music — though sticklers like me would opt for the term ‘garage’ — of the ’90s. MK’s sound was a subtle fusion of Detroit techno influences and the garage sound of his adoptive city, New York. Edwards is a product of his New Jersey home. He took the garage sound of the state that had already given the world producers like Kerri Chandler, Blaze and Cassio Ware, as well as the godfather of that particular sound, Tony Humphries and key record labels like Abigail Adams’ Movin’ Records, and nudged it in the direction of the new millennium that was just around the corner.

But there are differences between Marc Kinchen and Todd Edwards, but perhaps time is the main one. Edwards came up a few years after Kinchen, who had been plying his production trade since the late ’80s. Kinchen’s key tracks and remixes came out at the zenith of house music in the early ’90s, three years after the Chicago radio station WBMX shut down and the remaining stations abandoned the genre due to their sense of alienation with acid house and the more stripped down sound of artists like Steve Poindexter. However, it was blossoming in its new home, New York, where labels like Strictly Rhythm and Nu Groove were taking all the regional styles (from Chicago, Detroit, the UK and Italy) and fusing them into a sound that was distinctly NYC. Kinchen, like Masters At Work and Mood II Swing, caught this wave and used it to his advantage.

Edwards came to the fore in the mid-90s. He had already put out releases on Nervous Records and James Bratton’s 111 East Records label. By ’94 he was releasing material on i! Records out of Clifton, New Jersey, with his tunes initially showing up on the label’s compilation Avenue Project EPs. Tracks like “Winter Behavior”,  “Can’t Live Without You” and his gem from ’95, “Saved My Life” brought his chopped-up vocal sample style to a new level, an approach that he had first heard Marc Kinchen use on his remixes of Nightcrawlers and Masters At Work.

But perhaps the main difference between these two men is that Edwards’ sound caught the ears of fusion minded djs and producers in the UK, who were experimenting with American garage elements filtered through the prism of drum ‘n’ bass. The genres that came from this, speed garage and 2 Step garage, owe a large debt to Todd Edwards’ production style, and the British djs and producers who created this sound have  a great deal of respect for Edwards. So it’s only fitting that Icee Hot — a club night that presents us with the new and, at this point, uncategorizable, strains of music that have evolved from the British take on garage — should give us a night of the roots of this entire gamut of music. Come and join us on the floor at the Works for what will be an amazing night.

Chris Orr