Monty Luke - "Behavior Detection" - (6:21) 121 BPM
Pixelife - "Five Month Survey" - (9:39) 120 BPM
Pixelife - "The Doctor Is Out" - (5:33) 122 BPM
NYC label Throne Of Blood pay tribute to Monty Luke's Black Catalogue by inviting the chieftain himself and label-mates the Carter Bros to curate the A-side of their latest release, Throne Of Black Catalogue. The Carters provide a tunnelling, and at times progressive "Jamaica Burning" (version 2)", while Luke supplies a fuzzy-keyed, snare popping burner with "Behaviour Detection" - a track which sounds like a well behaved Kyle Hall. Horn Wax's Pixelife then delivers two tracks, with "5 Month Survey" fit for any jacking Ibiza dancefloor; "The Doctor Is Out" stays in the jacking zone too - with its marching snares, there's an added triumphant italo aspect.
As Planet E's current run of releases attests, Detroit's house and techno community is in the middle of a renaissance. This is borne out further by "Futures Unholding" by new artist Monty Luke. Diverting from the Motor City house script, "Futura" is a heavy, tribal house affair, its epic chords sounding more similar to the 90s Tenaglia/Tribal sound than Omar S or Reggie Dokes. However, it becomes clear on "When We Left Earth" that Luke is from Detroit; its stripped back rhythms are reminiscent of Juan Atkins at his most obtuse and the eerie synths sound like classic Aux 88. Luke Hess's epic chord-led version of "Futura" completes an impressive release from this new school Detroiter.
Despite his deep house roots, there's always been an element of stargazing Motor City futurism to Monty Luke's productions. The acclaimed Detroit DJ is at it again on Lonely is the Night, his latest EP for his own Black Catalogue imprint. The title track, which sounds like an authentic, underground Motor City take on the atmospheric, tactile Visionquest sound, is quietly impressive, but it's the EP's other two tracks that really stand out. "Touching You" is melody-rich trechno futurism at a deep house tempo - all tumbling synthesizer melodies, dreamy vocal samples and wide-eyed grooves. "I'll Cry Diamonds While You Burn" is, if anything, even better, revolving around a fuzzy analogue bassline and otherworldly synth chords.
Steadily working his way up with a sumptuous deep house sound, Monty Luke, Carl Craig's right-hand man at Planet E, appears on his own fledgling imprint with some surefire party rockers. "Yesterday & Today" ticks away in all the right places, using an urgent vocal to create tension while the same relentless bassline keeps hammering away at your dancing organs. "Tomorrow" is a stranger affair, taking an unconventional approach to beat-mapping which calls to mind the earliest drum machine workouts of the early Detroit forefathers. With pads to match, it's clearly a nod from Monty to those that came before him and he makes it work a treat.
While Modern Underground Music Volume 1 may be a cumbersome title, it's certainly accurate. You see, this split EP is unflinchingly contemporary and touches on a multitude of styles and sounds. There's some loose, off-beat, hip-hop influenced instrumental action (Artie Strongman's delicious "Impressed To Dress"), some fuzzy analogue house gear (the Disco Nihlist-ish "Chasing Rainbows" by Fholston Paradigm) and even a dash of spacious, slightly cosmic hip-house (Monty Luke's "Through The Galaxies"). The Carter Brothers also dazzle with their trip back to the days of loose-limbed techno (check the Detroit riffage and tribal drums on "Ritual Business"), while Kuru goes all crunchy and spooky on the excellent "The Draconian Hybrids". Top stuff.
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