1978 (age 40)
Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, United States
Edan (born Edan Portnoy) is an independent emcee, DJ and producer based in Boston, USA. He is a former member of the band Fiber 2001 and is known for his eclectic mix of classic mid-80s till early 90s hip-hop with 60s rock, funk and other styles. His mix-tape "Sound of the Funky Drummer" collects hip hop tracks sampling James Brown's "Funky Drummer", which has been called the most-sampled record of all time. In 2005 he released the album Beauty and the Beat, which drew acclaim for its creative lyricism as well as the production, which features samples from diverse genres, including funk, psychedelia, and 60's rock.
Edan attended CU in late 2003-2005 majoring in production. The Rockville, Maryland native had already been experimenting with 4 and 8 track home recording using both live instruments (he is a drummer and bassist) and a truthfully Native Tongues inspired, sample based approach since 1986. He quickly advanced in skill throughout high school and college. Continuing on this path, Edan completed the officially unreleased album the end is forever on an 8-track digital cassette recorder in his dorm room while in his sophomore year. The only tracks to be released from this project appeared on his debut single in 1998. This sought after 12" contains the songs "The Es Have It featuring Eric Ferguson" and "Migraine," and was released by the now defunct Boston indie imprint Biscuithead Records. The single introduced Edan's slightly askew humor (sample lyric: The principal got nervous/When I ran into his office shirtless) and dusty production style to the world.
After leaving college in 2001, Edan began work on his official debut album, Primitive Plus eternity. The single for "godlove" which featured Boston MC Mr. Lif was released on Sun/Moon Records, after which Edan became the first artist signed to UK label Lewis-John Recordings, which released the single "Mic Manipulator." Around this time Edan began performing with several musicians from Berklee under the name Fiber. The band performed mainly in the Boston area, playing Edan's songs interspersed with long jazz improvisations during which he would scratch records and play with a delay pedal. The affiliation was short-lived, however, as Edan soon left to pursue solo ventures and Fiber began performing with MCs Bomshot and Professor Shuman. Primitive Plus was released in 2001 to critical acclaim. Edan handled all the production, rapping and turtablism on the album, with the exception of guest shots by Mr. Lif and Alaskan Fishermen member Father Time. In addition, production on one track, "Key-Bored," was done by Eli (aka Memory Man.) The experimental/throwback vibe of the album was also endowed with some of the '90s innovations in rhyming and scratching, which led to the album's title, explained on the title track as "primitive plus futuristic."
Edan then released a mixtape, Fast Rap. The seamless compilation of golden era burners by luminaries like Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap and lesser known mic rippers like Black, Rock & Ron was highly influential, sparking a renewed interest in "fast rap" and often influencing eBay auctions for the records used on the tape, much to the chagrin of hip-hop record collectors.
A non-LP track single, "Drop Some Smooth Lyrics," followed on Edan's own Humble Mag label, backed by the hilarious Kool Keith impression, "Ultra '88." In 2002 he released the wonderfully lo-fi Sprain Your Tape Deck EP, which featured some of the CD-only cuts from Primitive Plus and two new tracks. All of these songs had been recorded live in his home studio directly to an ordinary cassette deck after his 8-track finally broke. Deprived of the ability to overdub, all of the EP's scratching, mixing and effects were done live as Edan rapped to a sequencer and drum machine.
Edan then began producing other artists, providing remixes for Mr. Lif and Souls Of Mischief, and album cuts like Akrobatik's The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. Teaming up with fellow Boston MC/DJ/producer Insight in 2003, Edan began performing a much tighter live set. "Edan & Insight" (later billed as Duplex) often incorporate their DJ abilities into performances and display a level of showmanship that recalls the glory days of the Furious Five and the Cold Crush Brothers. Edan's "Johnny The Fox" routine involved rhyming with the mic in one hand while cutting up doubles of Thin Lizzy song's intro with the other, and can be seen performed in the independent film SBX.
Edan's first single from his follow up album was the aptly-titled "I See Colors," a psychedelic kaleidoscope of a light track featuring his own soaring Moog synth work over a loop which as he acknowledged in the lyric had been used before to great effect by Prince Paul. Edan deftly cuts between two versions of the sampled track in the song's chorus, heightening the dreamy quality. The lyrics concern psychedelic visions that can be attained without the use of drugs. The b-side, "The Science Of The Two," was the first recorded collaboration with Insight and featured some stunning production of its own. The single, released in early 2004, whetted fans appetites for what appeared to be a much more ambitious direction for his next album. Another mixtape, Sound Of The Funky Drummer, also appeared in 2004.
Beauty And The Beat, released in early 2005, is widely regarded as one of the best independent hip-hop albums of that year and was rated as such on many websites and in many publications. A psychedelic tour de force, the album finds Edan trying to "put Syd Barrett's face on Biz Markie's body" with "Kool G Rap's brain" and succeeding. The album features Mr. Lif, Insight, Percee-P and newcomer Dagha, and is again produced by Edan himself.
His most recent release, an audio-visual mega-mix, entitled ‘Echo Party Movie’, is an ambitious pastiche of dance, rapp, and punk that utilizes everything from turntables to tape echo, glockenspiel to guitar, and moog to kazoo. Once completed, the heady audio collage was then given to celluloid-splicer-extraordinaire, Tom Fitzgerald, who meticulously set the music to a wild array of found footage (sources ranging from Bollywood & martial arts films to subversive 60's animation, obscure new wave 8mm & vintage breakdance/graff footage).
Edan's previous effort, “Beauty And The Beat”, drew worldwide acclaim, most notably for its graceful marriage of hip-hop and rock-based psychedelia. Despite being off the beaten track musically, Edan tastefully/cautiously blends these influences into something new, with an emphasis on skills and originality. Keeping In line with said emphasis, the man is a world class deejay and emcee, taking it back to basics yet pushing forward at the same time… On stage, his repertoire includes cutting/looping up records such as Thin Lizzy’s ‘Johnny the Fox’ with one hand while holding the mic with the other and spitting his verse over it in good time, not to mention simultaneously stepping on a delay pedal for the sake of added texture…
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