Review: Sound Signature's latest release is an all-star crew affair, with an impressive cast list of vocalists, musicians and producers joining main man Theo Parrish in the studio. He's at the controls on the sublime A-side mix, a jazzy affair where layered twinkling electric piano motifs, spacey chords, jazz-funk riffs and sumptuous deep house grooves combine on a fearlessly loose and organic dancefloor workout. On the flipside friend of the family Dego offers his interpretation, adding even more warmth and some tasty additional hand percussion parts whilst wisely utilizing most of the original version's intricate musical elements.
Andrew Ashong - "The Way She Moves" (short version)
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: Parallel Dimensions was first released in 2000. Since then, this seminal LP has been reissued on numerous occasions, and it's easy to understand why. Much like the work of his Detroit compatriot, Moodymann, Parrish's early work helped to define the sound that we now refer to as 'Detroit house'. Through an intricate, soulful blend of the Motor City's infamous Motown funk sounds, Parallel Dimensions has been one of the albums to showcase a particular style of sampling, one which focusses on rhythmic concoctions and a palpable sense of the city's struggles. Don't get us wrong, this LP is very much playable on the dancefloor, but it can't possibly be reduced to being categorised as a 'dance' piece. Hip-hop, soul, funk and disco are important parts of the formula, and the house and techno nuances that do emanate from the tunes are strictly a filter for Parrish's more jazzy, musical tendencies. It's an album to get lost in, to enjoy in different scenarios, and one in which you'll find something new every time you approach it. Unmissable.
360@1:29ON696 (feat Dumminie Deporres - full version)
Review: Sound Signature present two of the classier moments from Mr Parrish's Sketches album in their rightful form - either side of a nice loud twelve inch. Lead track "Feel Free To Be Who You Need To Be" is Theo's most eminently danceable excursion for quite some time; arising from a 23rd century Funkadelic intro into a subaqueous Detroit electro meets funk swing that builds expertly. It's weirdly reminiscent of a retooled version of "Booty (La La)" from Bugz In The Attic with the afro excesses twisted inside out to lean heavily on the robot vocoder flex. On the flip long time collaborator Dumminie Deporres features on the don't even bother pronouncing "360@1:29ON696" which stretches a twelve minute jazz techno odyssey elegantly across the vinyl - vintage stuff from the Sound Signature boss.
Review: Theo Parrish lays down a marker for a long overdue fifth album, apparently due out later this year, with the sublime Footwork 12". 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, 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: Sound Signature end 2013 how they started it; with a fresh slab of Theo Parrish goodness! Whilst the Dance of the Medusa EP issued back in January was Theo in marauding beat down mode, it seems the respected Detroit based producer is in a much mellower mood here. For example, the title track on the Long Walk In Sun 12" is the sort of mid-tempo production that would feature in an early doors Floating Points set at Plastic People. Complementing this, "Strawberry Dragon" features a more prominent display of Parrish's widely regarded skills at chopping percussion, but it's the resplendent instrumentation that stands out.
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: During its lifespan, sadly departed London club Plastic People had it all: an intimate space to dance, an astonishingly good audiophile sound system, and a crew of resident DJs that included the mighty Theo Parrish. The Detroiter's sets there, which ran for a minimum of six hours, have naturally become the stuff of legend. Three years after the club closed, Parrish has decided to release the recording of his final set there - a thrillingly free-wheeling, three-disc voyage that dizzily and gleefully joins the dots between jazz, soul, disco, funk, deep house, acid, techno and much more besides. The three discs capture Parrish at his most lively and esoteric, providing a musical journey that will delight dancers and armchair listeners alike.
Review: This second studio hook-up between Detroit veterans Theo Parrish and Marcellus Pittman first appeared way back in 2002, some three years after they made their collaborative debut on Sound Signature. Listening again all these years on, we can confirm that the three-tracker hasn't aged a bit. Check, for example, epic A-side "Evidence Of The 5th Green Foot", a near 12-minute, ultra-deep workout built around rich bass, lo-fi electric piano motifs and swinging, jazz-fired house beats. Elsewhere, "Equality Of Patience" is a deliciously druggy and heavily percussive peak-time throb-job, while "Questions Comments" is the kind of spaced-out, drum machine driven deep house box jam that both producers do so well.
Zinja Hlungwani - "Ntombi Ya Mugaza" (Burnt Friedman remix)
Review: Honest Jon's continued endeavours to choose the interesting remix artists to tackle the high BPM joys of their Shangaan Electro compilation sees them turn to that venerable Detroit magician and erstwhile Wu Tang Clan member Theo Parrish. The Sound Signature boss comes through with a masterful thirteen minute plus rewiring of Mancingelani's "Vana Vasesi" which retains the thunderous tempo and brilliantly chaotic rhythms yet instils the track with a woozy, intoxicating swing via the twisting synth waves. Complementing this, iconic German producer Burnt Friedman turns in a remix of "Ntombi Ya Mugaza" by Zinja Hlungwani which is far less frenetic but no less enjoyable, flipping the track in a dub wise style with off kilter drum programming, spine tingling keys and staggered vocal affectations.
Programming/Unauthorized Procedure/Criminal Drug Evasion
Soul Control/Quarter Run (feat Alena Waters)
Flotation Device/Fear Or Laziness?
Laziness (feat Amp Fiddler)
Usually Suspected/The Quest (feat Amp Fiddler)
Second Chances (feat Monica Blaire)
Space Cowboys & The Interplanetary Gangster Edit
Review: Theo Parrish's masterful Sound Sculptures Vol 1 on triple LP format gets a timely repressing!! In total here there are 9 of the 27 tracks from the full double CD version but these still run the gamut of Theo's inimitable talents, from rough and tumble disco edits to saccharine soul, raw beatdown and leftfield esoterica. Be sure to check the Omar S- featuring "Synthetic Flemm" and long time Juno favourite "Flotation Device". If ever there was a selection of tracks that fully showcased the incredible breadth of production talent this man has, this is it. Not to be missed!
Review: Oh yes, we love it when Theo represses some of his most sought after tracks and this one is particularly well-timed. Leron Carson is still an unknown figure, a kid who used to make viciously raw and futuristic techno tracks in the late 1980's! "China Trax", alongside the rest of his tracks on a different Sound Signature double 12", is totally ahead of its time and if it was truly made in 1987 then it is nothing short of amazing. Of course, it's not just the year it was made in that's interesting but also the fact that it's music without an age, able to be appreciated by any generation of techno freaks. Theo's own "Insane Asylum" on the flipside is also pretty monumental; rigged beats, off-kilter grooves and that familiar spontaneity so heavily associated to the label. RECOMMENDED.
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. Flip for the altogether 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.
Paul Randolph, Kathy Kosins & Theo Parrish - "Be Like Me" (SS translation) (9:41)
John Douglas, Amp Fiddler, Ideeyah & Theo Parrish - "Leave The Funk To Us" (full mix) (6:37)
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.