Review: Given the talent involved - Motor City deep house legend Alton Miller, with the similarly storied Theo Parrish on remix duties - this has "buy on sight" written all over it. Musically, it's as good as you'd expect. Miller's original version of "Bring Me Down", featuring the sauntering, soulful vocals of Maurissa Rose, is amongst the best things he's done of late; a sinewy, sensual deep house epic blessed with starry electronics, rolling beats, sweeping synths and rich bass. Parrish's similarly stretched-out translation is similarly sublime, fixing elements of Miller's fine original version to swinging, jazz-flecked beats, jammed-out Rhodes lines and typically dusty textures. Basically, it's as good as you'd expect, and then some. Don't sleep.
Review: At first glance, the pairing of Forest Hill resident Andrew Ashong and Sound Signature boss Theo Parrish would seem strange. But the duo have worked together previously with the Ghanaian born vocalist (and supposed owner of a vinyl collection that would make most record shops look like a car boot sale) lending his soulful tones to Parrish's excellent nine minute plus translation of the Hot Chip and Spiritualised affiliated About Group. Whereas that collaboration was more about Ashong's voice being just one element of a production that was undoubtedly Parrish, the three tracks present on the Flowers EP look to showcase what a talent the Londoner is. Those trademark dust filled stacatto rhythms are present in the opening title track, but they never swamp Ashong's killer vocal delivery, while "Take It Slow" is bonafide D funk of the highest order. After the brutal, divisive nature of Theo's kung fu experimentalism on the Any Other Styles EP, these three tracks show him in a wholly new light and hopefully Parrish and Ashong will be making much more music together.
Review: The last time a newcomer graced Theo Parrish's Sound Signature, it resulted in widespread praise for the Flowers EP from London based producer, DJ and singer Andrew Ashong, somehow we get the feeling this latest release on the label will prove to be as memorable. The Scorpio Rising EP sees Parrish look much closer to home and grant the DC-born, Detroit-bred producer Jay Daniel his debut release and the four track EP more than lives up to his billing as one of Boiler Room's most exciting new discoveries at DEMF. Wild Oats obsessives will probably know Daniel from the Fundamentals residency shared with Kyle Hall and he's clearly spent some time honing his Detroit influenced craft, with cuts like "No Love Lost" expertly balanced between melody and rugged drum grit. "Brainz" is the kind of no-nonsense DJ tool you might have heard on a FXHE B Side circa 2008 whilst "I Have No Name" demonstrates Daniel is eminently capable of the sort of hope inducing Utopian house from the D that the much missed Aaron Carl was renowned for.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a collaborative debut album (on Sound Signature, no less) from London broken beat veterans Dego and Kaidi Tatham. As with their previous joint releases on 2000 Black, Rush Hour, Eglo and, of course, Sound Signature, it's the duo's love of rich, jazz-fuelled musicality, sun-kissed melodies and loose, languid rhythms that shines through. There are naturally nods towards disco, boogie, jazz-funk, Afrobeat, hip-hop and classic "bruk", with a stellar cast list of guest musicians and vocalists swinging by to lend a hand. If Herbie Hancock decamped to Ladbroke Grove and made an album with Bugz in the Attic, it would probably sound like this. In our book, that's a very good thing indeed.
Review: This year, Theo Parrish seems to be doing his best to breathe new life into the careers of broken beat-era producers and musicians. Having previously released an excellent EP from Dego and Kaidi Tatham on Sound Signature, his latest missive comes from one-time conscious hip-hop producer Ge ology and one-time go-to jazz keys-man Mark De Clive-Lowe. The latter's brilliant synthesizer and piano work is arguably the highlight of both tracks here. On the spacey, P-funk influenced space-house swing of "Moon Circuitry" he does his best impression of Herbie Hancock, while "Escape On The Lodge Freeway" boasts intricate jazz solos atop a slightly tougher, chunkier deep house groove. Both tracks are, of course, impeccable.
Review: Theo Parrish and Pirahnahead on the same EP? You bet. Here, the two esteemed Detroit house veterans take it in turns to produce music for Rotating Assembly member and part time beat poet Craig Huckaby (yep, he's Mike's brother). Musically, it's as loose, organic and spiritual as you'd expect, with Huckaby providing spoken word passages that flit between thoughtful introspection and poetic nonsense (check bonus "The Squirrel" for proof). The Parrish produced "Black Music" - a Moodymann-ish fusion of lazy deep house, liquid bass and spiritiual jazz - is probably the pick, though the curiously live sounding "Child Of The Sun" (produced brilliantly by Pirahnahead) isn't far behind.
Julion De'Angelo - "Chase The Summer" - (6:59) 118 BPM
Thomas Xu - "Alottochewon" - (4:54) 113 BPM
Julion De'Angelo - "Pocketfull" - (5:52) 130 BPM
Thomas Xu - "Acceptance" - (6:40) 117 BPM
Review: As a rule of thumb, if Theo Parrish chooses to promote a producer, you can bet your bottom dollar that they're doing something right. That's certainly the case with Julion De'Angelo and Thomas Xu, who each contribute two fine tracks to this inspired Sound Signature EP. De'Angelo gets things going with the hazy, spaced-out goodness of "Chase The Summer" - all locked-in synth bass, rising and falling melody lines and skewed, jazz-tinged deep house percussion - before returning later with the gently distorted, two-step garage-goes-deep house wooziness of "Pocketfull". As for Xu, he somehow joins the dots between krautrock, wonky analogue house chug and distorted jazz on "Alottochewon", before mellowing things out on "Acceptance", a jazz-funk driven slice of fireside positivity that may be the EP's standout moment.
Review: Unless you're one of those who spent copious amounts of cash on the CD version of this second Theo Parrish production compendium, the appearance of Sound Signature Sounds Vol 2 on digital download should be a cause for celebration. Parrish is, of course, one of house music's true originals, and the quality of material on this eccentric trawl through his early 2000s work never drops below outstanding. Highlights are plentiful, but standouts include an unofficial Recloose remix ("I Can Take It", a thrillingly sparse chunk of percussive dancefloor soul), the previously unreleased hip-hop/downtempo nugget "Didn't Pay Dues" and the ultra-deep Marvin Gaye rework "Instant Insanity".
Review: A big welcome to Theo Parrish's Sound Signature imprint into the digital domain! We've come accustomed to Mr Parrish's records sounding like they've been beamed down from some distant star, but even by the Detroit maverick's lofty standards "STFU" is something else. Loose, hypnotic, scrambled and eerily distant, it sounds like twisted deep house jazz composed in another galaxy or even dimension. There are three varied versions, too. The original slowly builds thanks to layers and layers of delay-laden drums and freakish electronic motifs. The Short Version offers a neat, floor-friendly summary, while the Alt Version is even more of a fractious, next-level wig-out than the trippy original.
Review: Despite being a devout supporter of the vinyl format, it's good to see Theo Parrish helping out his more digitally minded fans and offering up an official release of 2010's Sketches triple-pack. Incorporating a welcome handful of additional tracks including the stomping piano riffs of "Black Mist" and the growling electro tinges of "Feel Free To Be Who You Need To Be", there's surely nowhere else you would want to look for your fix of masterful Detroit house loaded with raw soul and fearless invention. From the grainy synth bugging of "Thumpasaurus" to the serene "Hope 4 Tomorrow", there's something for everyone to get lost in here.
Review: Juno digital exclusive on this slab of 2009 heat from Mr Theo Parrish! Space Station is a Sound Signature masterpiece and it's hard to describe something so seminal but the title track is a shuffling drum machine workout backed with Theo's individualistic bass line style - it's not really acid but it's got enough in it to be seen as techno. "Going Through Changes" takes thing down a notch, delivering a masterfully arranged Detroit house bomb complete with seductive vocals, gorgeous synth keys and the essential madness that is Parrish's percussion. Pretty damn essential...
Review: The outlandish and unpredictable "Any Other Styles" from Theo Parrish is finally granted a digital release! Central to the DNA of "Any Other Styles" is a cornucopia of FX dredged up from arcade beat-em up moves and crudely nudged to fit an abstractive, thick set beat pattern that bucks angrily with a frenetic nature that's beyond unpredictable. It's the strangest Theo record we've heard in some time, but when any number of people are treading shallow waters in the name of contemporary deep house, don't we need some people to not even consider "the box" when it comes to approaching music? If sonic boom techno ain't your thing, then the DJ tool "Beat This" might take your fancy, an endlessly restless shimmy through skeletal pitter patter beatdown, with the sort of dextrous drum arrangements that Parrish does so well.
Review: When Musical Metaphors first dropped on wax way back in 1997 as the first official Sound Signature release, Theo Parrish was still a relative unknown. It was on this 12" - and the subsequent Moonlight Music & You EP - that the Detroit resident first set out his stall as a deep house producer with a unique voice (and a passion for stretching out grooves over ten sensual minutes). Looking back, it's classic Theo. The beatdown informed "Shadow Dancing" is ultra-deep, with fuzzy keys and whispered vocals riding a hynotic, locked-in groove. Parrish's famous jazz influences come to the fore on the looser - but no less hypnotic - "Carpet People Don't Drink Steak Soda", which gains much of its potency from a combination of shuffling deep jazz-house rhythms and toasty chords.
Review: Given that this first dropped back in 1997 as the second vinyl release on Sound Signature, it's perhaps unsurprising that the long out-of-print 12" version goes for serious money online. It's particularly pleasing, then, that Parrish has finally relented and given it a digital release. Moonlight Music & You features two classic examples of the Detroiter's deep, woozy, soul-flecked take on deep house; the 13-minute groove exploration that is "Music" - all twinkling melodies, undulating beats in his distinctive style, darting electronics and dewy-eyed vocal samples - and "Moonlite", a tougher but no less spaced out excursion blessed with typically stoned chords and dense African drums.
Review: Theo Parrish lays down a marker for a long overdue fifth album, apparently due out later this year, with the sublime Footwork single. Named in reference to the dance as opposed to the breakneck offshoot of ghetto house, "Footwork" is a sublime slab of Theo with many of his trademark production touches. Think lightly brushed percussion, a meandering bassline that juts out with an odd funk, and subtle yet sumptuous musical touches, all topped off by a gruff "let me see your footwork baby" croon. Those Theo fans out there that like the man to get a bit rugged will be all over "Tympanic Warfare" too, where off the grid polyrhythms cannon around the channels, augmented by an ugly bassline and dexterous keys.
Review: The second Sound Signature repress of the week offers a chance to re-assess the moment that the wider world was introduced to the talents of one of Detroit's most loved selectors. Released back in 1999, the Essential Selections Vol. 1 EP saw Theo collaborate with a certain Marcellus Pittman across three cuts that still sound as vibrant today. "Night Of The Sagitarius" has the loose drum arrangements and gritty low end that will appeal to contemporary ears, but it's also augmented by an almost chilling sense of melody. "Selector's Theme" is the pair in introspective mood whilst "African Roots" belongs in the canon of all time Theo greats.
Review: Theo Parrish's Rotating Assembly project has always been one of his more overlooked ventures, with the series of 12"s from 2004 that make up the content of this reissued album not even fetching the usual astronomical prices people would attach on Discogs. It's surprising when this comprises some of the most focused and satisfying Parrish music going, channelling his subversive house ethic through a band of singers, players, instruments and more. It's, as you might expect, very jazzy, but it carries the beat more often than not, whether it be a drunken thump as on "Take Me", or a broken beat shuffle a la "Split Me Open".
Review: In some ways, this is a rather curious release by Sound Signature standards. Instead of the label's usual muddy deep house and jazz-flecked oddities, "Pipe Bomb" sounds like an intense fusion of booming techno, classic Yorkshire bleep 'n' bass, dirty acid and early Orbital. With, it should be noted, the sort of loose, jazz influenced percussion touches that mark out much Detroit dance music. The whole thing is creepy and otherworldly, but strangely also rather attractive in a smacked-out paranoia kind of way. It would have been interesting to hear some alternate versions or remixes, but you can't fault Specter's intoxicating orginal for offbeat thrills.
Review: It's been four years since Chicago producer Andres "Specter" Ordonez pitched up on Theo Parrish's Sound Signature label with the smoky, bleep-laden killer "Pipe Bomb". Here, he returns to the Detroit veteran's imprint, bringing with him three more slabs of fuzzy analogue oddness. "The Gooch" is the real killer, a 10-minute freakout that sounds like a jazz band making murky techno with just analogue machinery to play with - all wonky electronics, subtle acid and loose but relentless cymbals. The bolder "Zodiak" impresses with its 303-driven aggression, while "Body Blow" sounds like Hieroglyphic Being jamming with Buddy Miles. On Mars. That's gotta be good, right?
Review: Given that this is the first album from the great Theo Parrish since 2007, it's unsurprising interest in American Intelligence has rocketed over the course of the year as Sound Signature left a trail of hints. Happily, American Intelligence is a fine album; deep and woozy in parts, undeniably soulful, shot through with jazz influences and full to bursting with killer cuts. By now, everyone should know the brilliant "Footwork" single (arguably one of the records of 2014); soon, clubs will swing to the off-kilter dancefloor jazz of "Make No War", the 21st century broken house of the epic "Fallen Funk" and the decidedly odd - but brilliant - "Helmut Lampshade".
Review: In his usual no-nonsense fashion, Theo Parrish has not said much about the surprise release of Gentrified Love Part 2, despite it being his first fresh material since 2014. The EP features contributions from two of the Detroit's legends oldest friends: Rotating Assembly member Duminie DePorres, and original Slum Village member Waajeed. A-side "Warrior Code" is a quietly foreboding proposition, with spiraling electronics, jammed keys and cosmic chords riding a chunky, West London style broken beat groove. Brighter and breezier "Leave The Funk To Us", a jaunty and jazz-wise 4/4 excursion blessed with some superb, Herbie Hancock style jazz-funk keys.
Review: Theo Parrish's Gentrified Love series seems to be a collaborative affair. Part two, available separately, contained hook-ups with fellow Detroiters Wajeed and Duminie Deporres. "Ghetto Proposal", which is available in Vocal and Instrumental versions, features sublime contributions from another Motor City legend, veteran modern soul man Amp Fiddler. It's something of a deliciously trippy affair, underpinned by a freaky, delay-heavy groove, fireside-warm Rhodes keys, meandering trumpet lines and - on the vocal version, at least, drowsy female vocals. Both artists jazz influence is clear, particularly in the crunchy percussion hits that begin to dominate as the track progresses. Interestingly, the instrumental moves a little further towards jazzy broken beat territory.
Review: Given that it was originally released on vinyl and CD way back in 2000, it's something of a surprise to find that this is the first digital download release of Theo Parrish's acclaimed sophomore set. It remains a benchmark in the Detroit legend's fine career and arguably the set in which he fully realized his unique musical vision (think cut-up and manipulated samples, major jazz influences, and hypnotic, stretched-out cuts that quietly build throughout). Highlights are plentiful, from the deep Afro-house of "Serengeti Echoes" and leisurely, slipped jazz warmth of "Summertime Is Here", to the almost Balearic brilliance of the suitably epic and saucer-eyed "Violet Green".
Review: It's a well-known fact that Theo Parrish can do no wrong, production-wise at least. Predictably, his first EP of 2018 is something of a delight, with "Preacher's Coming" delivering a typically eccentric, jazzy and soul-fired trip into sparse, gospel-fired deep house territory. This being Theo, though, it's unlike any gospel house cut you'll have ever heard before, with various gospel samples (handclaps, piano stabs, short vocal snippets) riding a darting synth bassline and sparse-but-heavy beats. Arguably even better is "Gullah Guchee", a formidadly bass-heavy, intoxicating house interpretation of a Craig Huckaby-helmed crew spoken word number that also features a hand-clapped rhythm and African style chanting. Happily, Parrish has also included Huckaby's sublime original version, too.
Review: Motor City veteran and longtime friend Amp Fiddler is the latest artist to join forces with Theo Parrish for the latter's ongoing Gentrified Love series of collaborative EPs. Virtual A-side "Trust (SS Translation)", which also features soul vocalist Ideeyah, offers a perfect fusion of the two producers' work; think dusty, organic modern soul underpinned by typically loose and wayward deep house beats. Arguably even better is near 12-minute virtual flipside "My Soul", a drowsy, woozy and stretched out trip through jaunty, broken house rhythms, Fiddler's impeccable keys work, and the kind of starry synthesizer motifs that were once the hallmark of Detroit techno.
Review: Theo Parrish's "Gentrified Love" series hits its fourth instalment with two stunning extensions/takes. First up is a powerful expansion of "Leave The Funk To Us". First spotted on the second edition of the series, it's now full length with the golden touch of Amp Fiddler. "Be Like Me", meanwhile, takes Paul Randolph & Kathy Kosins' Brownswood Bubbler to a whole new cosmos with lavish twists and cleverly subverted layers. Yet another precision trip from Parrish.