Image from edgarthebeatmaker.bandcamp.com
For a good portion of the month, London talent Archy Marshall released a single under the inauspicious moniker of The Return of Pimp Shrimp. There is only one other single under this uncanny persona released around two years ago, entitled Feel Safe 88. The new single, which was supposedly titled PS…….x was taken down near the end of the December.
The following YouTube video is the only visible remnant of the shortly-lived single.
Video uploaded by CHICOLATE (YouTube)
This single was the first source of new material exposed by Marshall after his commercially gratifying 2017 album, The Ooz, as well as a few source demos here and there. This toiled some memories from a handful of years ago, of listening to his music during the reign of my late adolescence.
One of Marshall’s caricatures, Edgar The Beatmaker, was one I have always been reminded of during this time for the year. There is a mystifying quality to the music under his persona. His production begets the feeling of subtle contemplation. The winter season always left an impression on me that allows me to visit music such as his.
His production style is supported by the quiet quality of minimalistic bumps and solemn Jazz sample usage. Each of his tracks begets a smooth quality, a feeling that only an insomniac that knows his style and understands his despondency would master.
A project that perfectly aligns with the character’s psychosis, constructed and released when Marshall was only 18 years old, is the short-stocked EP Darkest Shades of Blue.
This was possibly created during Marshall’s matriculation out of the prestigious BRIT School of Music, which could exemplify where Marshall received his refined musical approach.
Darkest Shades of Blue is rich with seven contrastingly-timed tracks, all heavying Edgar The Beatmaker’s golden arches swayed by his single hand. The EP’s album work itself can serve as a visual representation for the aesthetic this project holds.
Starting the project off is the track entitled 2003, which features the lyrical ronin and fellow London beat combatant Jadasea. The sample itself is utilized in its clearest form, although compounded by compressed drums and vocal synchronization.
Image from soundcloud.com
It becomes initially apparent here that these two young cats are just having fun with their talents, swishing and swaying their joy back and forth. Jadasea riffs his way throughout Marshall’s simple but nocturnal beat, freestyling with untethered focus and heart-aching joy.
The next track is entitled Deezle, which features R&B lyricist Jesse James and Marshall’s consistent musical engineer, Rago Foot. The track’s production takes on a lustrous approach, sedating each element with sensuous snares and nonchalant drums.
James and Rago Foot don’t riff as passionately as Jadasea does with the other tracks, but they manage to fill the production with rarefied coolness.
One of the tracks that appears incongruous with the EP’s formula is the track FEOTUS. There are wallowing piano chords that breathe the misty London air, which is supplemented by Marshall’s agonizing prose of hopelessness.
What follows FEOTUS is a track filled with freestyling onslaughts and lively Jazz-Rap craftmanship. The song titled MVC Bus Ridim Kila is filled with fun energy, coming from all the lyricists appearing in this EP.
Image from pitchfork.com
As this track animates the EP with energy, a track such as Darkest shades of blue, featuring Jadasea, brings back the wallowing feeling from the production. It is slow-paced and eerie but poignantly narrated by Jadasea, serving as the satisfying last track for the EP.
Darkest Shades of Blue isn’t Marshall’s best effort. It most likely wasn’t supposed to be. Here, Marshall displays an ounce of his potential. His much more refined projects, such as his 2015 album A New Place 2 Drown, exposes more of his relevancy to the modern sound, yet continues to light his unique flare.
Ever since the EP’s release, Marshall garnered immense success from his King Krule projects. As long as his sound continues to develop and he continues to create, this EP can act as a pinpoint in the young prodigy’s timeline.