The way that I listened to Delroy Edwards during college is the way I listen to it now: as a form of escapism. The motif is always Los Angeles, and Edwards goes to great lengths to construct a photo negative of the Tinseltown, without the glitz or timelessness. Through his tracks and the label he houses them on, LA Club Resource, a 1990s anti-Hollywood emerges in decrepit, analog glory. There’s a brief video documentary on Edwards on Youtube, where he describes the inspiration for his motif. “I’m obsessed with the city because it looks so sleazy, parts of it,” he told the interviewer. That he gives the interview from a street-salvaged floral grandma chair in his apartment adds effect.
His typical tracks are built on minimalistic techno beats, with warped samples that cycle like a cassette reel shooting out tape—the field recording of decades-past late night, driving through empty intersections in the Valley. Heavier tracks feel like the bottled up excitement and anxiety of a bass-heavy show, where concrete walls reverberate. The sound pairs with the label’s black on white goth aesthetic. Apparel is adorned with devilish goth font. Album covers look like dusty polaroids of indecipherable origin.
Los Angeles has always had its underbelly, but whether it’s true to the form Edwards creates is less clear. Instead, he’s invited listeners to participate in his revisionist nostalgia, sourced from childhood memories hooliganing down Santa Monica Blvd. “My favorite place [was Hollywood] to be because it was kind of gross, and there was always something going on,” he tells that interviewer. There’s an excellent homemade music video of an Edwards’ track called “Now U in My Trunk.” It’s not techno, but the visuals are cuts of “ditch parties,” off-the-books backyard raves put on by high school students. After watching it, I think I understood what he meant.
I went to a college two hours north of Los Angeles, the first time I could really interact with it as an adult and engage with it in a meaningful way. I knew it had all of these layers to peel back, and that some had seen their day before I was even born. By spinning Delroy Edwards, the weeks of class between treks back down into the city could be an opportunity to explore the city. Listening today, it’s as far as I could hope to get from the monotony of a house under quarantine. Wherever you’re coming at it from, Edwards offers a compelling vision of the fameless LA, past and present.
4 Club Use Only (editors note: we’re clearly breaking the rules on this one)
Delroy Edwards & Dean Blunt "Desert Sessions" LACR024 FULL ALBUM - 38 minutes.
Boiler Room Set - 1 hour