Theo Parrish – 71st & Exchange Used To Be…
The sheer amount of excellent music released on The Trilogy Tapes last year was recently put into context by Ben UFO, who stated on video that the label’s output along with PAN had put ‘Hessle Audio to shame’. Whilst there’s no doubting the standards of records by Joe or Pev and Kowton on Hessle, you could sense the envy in Thomson’s words at some of the records put out by Bankhead over the course of the past year. The fact The Trilogy Tapes have teamed up with Sound Signature and skate brand Palace to release a record from the don Theo qualifies why Thomson has been so very impressed by Will Bankhead’s label.
Quite how this release came about isn’t clear – this is TTT so that’s no strange thing – and whilst this figuration of labels might also be surprising to some, it does make sense when you have a grasp of the histories of those involved. Will Bankhead is a long term skater with close ties to Palace, whilst the emergent skate brand have themselves been known to include Theo Parrish tracks on their VHS soaked promo videos. Parrish meanwhile, has been associated with skate brands, memorably taking to the mic to spit some ODB verses with Ghostface Killah at a Supreme party in London – what price some Wu Tang Clan Ugly Edits anyone?
Whilst the music displayed here might seem like a departure from the ragged sonics of Vereker, Eomac and Levantis that have surfaced on The Trilogy Tapes recently, the standard of the tracks on 71st & Exchange Used To Be… drip with the same amount of quality shown on those records. By the time you finish listening, you are flush with the feeling the music more than justifies the sense of expectation that has built up around the EP since it was first announced.
The title track finds Parrish in mind expanding form, a constantly shifting drum intro opening out into a rich display of his oft-referenced musicality which flows outwards in thick channels consuming all before it. Those unsure about Parrish after last year’s divisive exercise in kung-fu influenced MPC fuckery, Any Other Styles, will embrace him once more when those soulful chords resonate sensually around the two-minute-thirty mark. From here forth, Parrish teases you with subtle arrangements that tug and pull at your senses in a manner that’s present from the off on closing track “Blueskies Surprise”.
Here the soul and jazz influences that were so apparent on Parrish’s recent Long Walk In Your Sun 12” shine so bright you could almost bask in them, laid out with an apparent simplicity that betrays the fact few other producers can make this sort of music like Theo Parrish. Sandwiched in-between is a personal favourite track from 71st & Exchange Used To Be… and a production that sees Parrish give into his gnarlier, more bugged-out urges. There’s a sense of stickiness in the bassline and off the grid drumming throughout “Petey Wheetfeet” that places the track alongside the original version of “Falling Up”, yet that musicality is still there in a manner similar to Sound Sculptures highlight “Soul Control”.
A1. 71st & Exchange Used To Be…
B1. Petey Wheetfeet
B2. Blueskies Surprise