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12 Jun 2014

Moodymann Album Music Review

Detroit Deep - A new Moodymann release is usually likely to be a reason for excitement in the home community. "Moodymann" was eventually released after this past year to some decidedly mixed reception, the negativity mainly based upon the cost, which at around 18 Euros on iTunes and as much as 37 Euros for the vinyl was considered by a few to be excessive. You will find, compared to other releases it�s expensive (and when compared to price that almost all covers it - i.e.: nothing after they rip it from zippyshare it could be said to be really rather expensive). But aside from gripes round the price, it is a good quality release. Not merely a collection of tracks rather than an effort to re-create old successes, it�s a cohesive collection that spans several genres whilst maintaining a resolutely individual identity.

Kenny Dixon Jnr�s sound is sample heavy, groove based, deeply soulful, raw and uncompromising. He draws on funk, soul, disco, R�n�B, and jazz and his awesome productions wear the body weight of the influences; they�re deep, thick, heavy, oozing out of your speakers like treacle. What Dixon does would be to perfectly meld these old school influences using the classic house and techno sound of Detroit: It�s machine soul.

The tracks and the mini-tracks/snippets/excerpts/skits that feature between them all contain samples and snatches of older black American music, subtle signposts for that initiated, hints from the influences that comprise KDs sound. The snippets, the speeches, slices of old RnB and Soul, spoken-word clips etc. all draw heavily around the good reputation for American black music, but re-presenting the different strands in the contemporary setting.

Its breadth is the greatest thing about "Moodymann", its length of some time and of different genres from different eras. Days gone by and also the present mix together, our feeling of time is enjoyed as distant hints of gospel and blues sit side-by-side with clearer shades drum machines and synths.

Taken as a whole, the album slides effortlessly between and throughout genres, sometimes, soul influenced, occasionally tech-inspired, always Detroit through and thru so when politically uncompromising as ever.

Tying it all up and providing it its identity would be the vocals of KD himself, cool understated, thick deep and, sometimes light, sometimes yearning, pitched down, over compressed, flitting into and out of the mix, chopped up and re-sampled, bleeding in to the rhythm track, a persons element perfectly meshed using the machines, tech soul. It�s why not a more personal release than his other work, simply by the fact that his vocals appear more prominently.

As well as the lyrical concerns? Sex, Clubs, KD himself not to mention, the city of Detroit that is referred to many times, both as victim with the disintegration of Americas Rust belt economy but additionally in the celebratory fashion, for the reason that strange doublethink that folks often have about where they are available from - simultaneously mindful of their home city�s shortcomings and pleased to complain about the subject, till someone externally will the same at which a feeling of civic pride swells up - �Cos I�m a Detroiter� says KD and he means it.

Variations in tempo enhance overall sense of completeness towards the album, as opposed to it just as a collection of 12� grooves cobbled together.Lounge Music Certainly, with regards to the dancefloor, a number of the tracks simply aren�t planning to work with the greater conservative house DJ who simply wants to play tracks around 120-125 bpm. In fact for any Deep House DJ, this can be may be going to be a more challenging album - its deep, dark, occasionally claustrophobic, intense, full-on, uncompromising - its most certainly not the Beatport Deep house Top 10. However, this is exactly what albums are for, a chance for artists to spread their wings a little, to loosen up their ideas, to totally rinse out their influences, and when which means stepping outside their usual house tempos for some time to articulate new amounts of deepness and emotion then that�s fine with me at night and better for your scene.

�Desire� appears early in the track listing, setting the quality bar high. Comprising tight beats, part broken beat, part Latin-house, exquisitely produced percussion, piano and acoustic bass snippets having a deep soulful vocal, the complete package all filtered through KDJ�s Detroit sensibility.

The track on the album with the most downloads on iTunes is the radio friendly Lyk U Use 2 featuring Andres, a soaring soul workout with hints of Andre 2000�s �Millionaire�. Part Motown, part DnB, descending Rhodes chords, simple repeating vocal melody, lovely unselfconscious backing vocals along with a filtered disco breakdown. Hooky, even, but nevertheless retaining its underground edge.

KDJ has got the gift of being able to combine resolutely underground repetitive riffs with his soul vocals and chopped, effected vocal samples to great effect as in �I got work�, a driving, relentless groove with various vocal tracks interlocking and mingling, whispering and muttering because the track breaks down and increases again.

The greater techy tracks are striking inside their coolness; simplified, minimal, spooky, empty but full, clearly wearing their Detroit heart on their own sleeves - their funk existing not in layers of syncopation in the relentless groove, the simple percussion - the whole thing effective, not merely one hat or clap is wasted or used un-necessarily, this is economic tech, austere house. �IGuessuneverbeenlonely� come in at 2 minutes and 43 seconds in total, not three minutes long as well as in its short time, it presents a definative encapsulation of that deep tech house sound that KDJ does so well, cool, austere restrained yet with hidden depths of emotion.

Likewise �Radio� - restrained rhythms over which cold, gentle synths play, the whole sound somehow managing to sound both space-age and utterly contemporary, simultaneously conjuring up the future whilst somehow managing to evoke early Twenty-first century urban landscape

�Ulooklykeiceccreaminthesummertime� has hints of Roy Ayers, effortlessly slipping from laid back funk into jazz via more cool Rhodes and effected vocals before the main breakdown resolves into a hardcore house rhythm, combined with the ever present Rhodes and vox.

�Born2Die� - a re work of his Lana Del Rey remix from 2012 - starts such as an 80sEuro-pop anthem a la Ultravox before KDJ begins to progress up the percussion and synth action, giving the track a sheen of cool, dark funk - chopping up the vocal, maintaining your beat tight and minimal, restrained and controlled - its another short track, weighing just over three minutes, it may easily happen to be another Five minutes long.

I�m watching you features more layered interlocking vocals, it�s a restrained track that joins the dots between your contemporary house groove and disco and jazz - sweet chords, having a contradictory hint of paranoia to the vocal - is it love or is it stalking? Here I can here oblique hints of Sly Stone�s claustrophobic, paranoid funk, and �Smiling Faces Sometimes� era Motown, Norman Whitfield�s Temptations brought up to date and dropped to the streets of 21st century disaster zone Detroit.

Apart from the obvious musical sampling, borrowing and referencings, he also makes more oblique hints and musical allusions, the specific track Sloppy cosmic recalling Funkadelic�s Cosmic Slop, not forgetting the suggestion of Eddie Hazel�s guitar workouts in the fuzz guitar that features around the track after the two minute plus gospelesque intro. Likewise you can find echoes of Prince, not only in the track names� usage of �U� as opposed to �You� but also in the space age funk of �Got Dem Freaks Dem wit Me�, a track filled with edits, effects and an insistent nagging bassline, flitting between house-funk and dark, low RnB. It�s then �Freeki Muthafucka�- with more dark paranoid vocals, this time spoken, heavily compressed, right up at the front end with the mix, located on top of a bubbling bass line, future beats and minimal euro synths. Try playing this in the dark basement at 3am watching the room go off.

Just what exactly you've is really a doggedly underground album from an artist that is both sticking to his influences whilst also widening his sonic palette. It�s rich and varied and in contrast to plenty of dance music, it's got genuine soul as well as a very prominent human face. If you like it soulful, if you want it deep, if you want it resolutely underground and uncompromising of course, if you�d enjoy virtual tour of yank black musics reworked into new forms -then "Moodymann" is perfect for you. 9/10


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