As our newest writer Joseph Hallam discussed in his first post here on infinitestatemachine, the big trend in house music right now is knocking off old 90s New York and New Jersey house music. Last year, instead of the Juno “New Releases” page sounding like Kerri Chandler ripoffs, it was all Larry Heard wannabes. It is kind of crazy to me that finally the old stuff is getting the love it deserves, but instead of inspiring new music it causes people to mimic it. Detroit was always harder to pin down. While there are definitely some pieces of equipment that popped up regularly, it was not so easy to identify like it is with the 707/303/etc of Chicago house or the swung 909s and chords of New York. While all those places continue to put out new and interesting music (most of which remains underground, as it should be, I supposed) the volume of music from Detroit, the quality, and the diversity is still very impressive.
Big Strick’s 7 Days Entertainment has been putting out all kinds of deep bangers by the man himself for a couple years now. Now he is developing new artists, and resurrecting old ones! Generation Next is Big Strick’s 17 year old son, and his new record Lamborghini Dreams contains his best material thus far. Simple synth melodies create an atmosphere that recalls John Carpenter soundtracks and classic Detroit techno, but with the hypnotic repetition that he inherited from Big Strick and Omar-S.
Following his new track “Night Moves” which appeared on 7 Days last year, Reckless Ron Cook returns but this time with his “Lost Tapes”. I would guess that these tracks date back to the mid 90s, but the music is straight up timeless electrofunk. Recalling great UR, Direct Beat, and Metroplex releases from that era, this is banging uptempo shit that is not for the weak. Music like this is criminally underrated at this moment in time, this release should get more people to check it out! Oddly, the sound samples online don’t do justice to the low end of these tracks, they sound thick and nasty on wax.
Moodymann’s Mahogani Nusic has been home to many house classics, and its newest release seems to be another one. R&b influenced house music by Paul Hill and Nikki O, this 12″ relies on strong songwriting and masterful production to worm its way into your soul. It is good to see Nikki O get a full release after her original EP on Mahogani ended up being one of those ultra-limited and generally unobtainable records in the catalog. Also on Mahogani recently is a hiphop LP by Nick Speed under the name Nicholas. Jazz and soul influenced gritty street jams are what this is all about! A great listening album, which thumps on my hi-fi. Really feeling this!
Theo Parrish’s Dance of the Medusa EP seems to take things back to the Sketches/STFU era of his productions, with very loose rhythms and a live, spaced out jazz feel. Rhythmically, no one is really doing things like Theo does on “Ambalamps”. Some people might think that is a good thing, but I appreciate the diversity greatly.
I attended the recent 3 Chairs party in Detroit a few weekends ago at TV Bar, and it was an outstanding night. A packed house, sick old Cerwin Vega soundsystem, and four of the best deejays in the world banging it out all night long. In addition to all the acid, disco, funk, deep house, and 80s jams you would expect, they also played three cuts off of their upcoming 12″ which I was lucky enough to score a white label copy of. I don’t know the names of the tracks, but both the A1 and B1 are vaguely acidic jams that generate a lot of funkiness in their drums. The B1 especially caused damage when it was played at TV Bar. The A2 is a really odd track with heavy atmospheres that sounds nothing at all like anything else they have done. B2 was a late night choice at the party, and it manages to combine recent Theo, early 2000s Moodymann, Rick Wilhite’s percussion, and Malik Pittman’s abstractions into one very cool cut.
Most of these are very new so there is no YouTube clips of them yet, but definitely track them down and check them out however you can!