“Music moves in such a way you can’t really talk about an artist using one set of adjectives because that would mean you’ve listened to all of their works; that would mean you’d come to a consensus about what that artist’s work does.” — Theo Parrish
We’ve listened to a lot of Theo Parrish records. If we had to describe his sound it would be that “it sounds like Theo Parrish”. Maybe it’s something in the equipment he uses, the records he’s sampling or something otherworldly. You often hear people refer to his sound as “raw”, but as this interview covers, he also does “nice”.
The Motor City producer has released on some of the best underground labels in the world such as Third Ear and Peacefrog Records and worked with producers both big and small including Carl Craig, Amp Fiddler and Duminie Deporres, as well as his fellow 3 Chairs members: Rick Wilhite, Moodymann and Marcellus Pittman. To add to this he’s produced several killer albums including “First Floor”, “Sound Sculptures Vol 1”, “Parallel Dimensions”, “American Intelligence”, and 2020’s “Wuddaji”. There is a lot to dig through.
One things for sure, he has produced some magical records over the last 25 years and here’s what we consider to be some of his best.
We’ve listed a lot of links where you can buy the vinyl for these releases but digital fans can head over to the Sound Signature website where you can find a lot of these to buy as WAV files.
Following the challenging “American Intelligence” album which split opinions, samples of Theo’s new album have surfaced on Soundcloud and it sounds magnificent.
His recent output on his Sound Signature label which includes the three-part “Gentrified Love” series, saw him call in appearances from artists such as Australian soul outfit, Hiatus Kyote, vocalist Jovia Armstrong, and Detroit producer Waajeed, as well as previous collaborators Amp Fiddler, Duminie DePorres, and Craig Huckaby. No word on collaborators yet but we expected Parrish to have leant on a stellar array of musicians for the new LP.
After finishing the second decade of the twenty-first century with the immaculate “This Is For You”, it seems like Theo is going to start the third decade in a similar fashion.
Release date is 18th September 2020.
1. Theo Parrish – Hambone Capuccino
2. Theo Parrish – Radar Detector
3. Theo Parrish – This Is For You with Maurissa Rose
4. Theo Parrish – Wuddaji
5. Theo Parrish – Hennyweed Buckdance
6. Theo Parrish – Angry Purple Birds
7. Theo Parrish – Who Knew Kung Fu
8. Theo Parrish – All Your Boys Are Biters
9. Theo Parrish – Knew Better Do Better
The fourth instalment in his album series continue his exploration of soul, funk, and latin influences and features a mixture of brand new tracks and recent hits including the Earth, Wind & Fire sampling ‘Might Tribe’ as well as a new version of 2012’s killer hit ‘New For U’.
As well as recording under the Andrés alias, Hernandez also DJ’d in J Dilla’s Slum Village as well as appearances in Detroit supergroup The Rotating Assembly which features Motor City artists including Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittman, and Rick Wilhite.
01. Back In The Old Times
02. Mighty Tribe
03. I’ll Wait 4 U
04. What’s Ur Name Again
05. Truth Serum
06. New For U
09. Waist Deep
10. Learn 2 Love (Yoruba Love Dub)
11. Run Dat Shit
14. New For U (Live)
15. What’s It Gonna Be
16. Jungle Pain
The 10 minute vocal opus features the stunning vocal talents of Maurissa Rose who also featured on Alton Miller’s “Bring Me Down”, also released on Parrish’s Sound Signature. The flip features a slightly more heads-down instrumental.
Just the glimpse of the words Carl Craig remix on the tracklist of an otherwise unremarkable-looking EP will send DJs scrambling for their headphones, ready to have their ears and minds scrambled by the latest interpretation from the man who’s been likened to the Miles Davis of Techno.
Since his first remix in 1988, Carl Craig has an extraordinary 605 remixes credited to his name on Discogs. While not all of these have shown his true skill, the vast majority would make any producer envious of his ability to turn even the blandest pop track into a techno masterpiece capable of sending even the most critical dancefloor into raptures.
To celebrate the Detroit legends numerous gifts to sound systems across the globe, we’ve compiled the best ever Carl Craig remixes.
Cesaria Evora – Angola (Carl Craig remix) 
Organic percussion, psychedelic synth and 909s collide in this killer building remix of Cape Verdean songstress Cesaria Evora.
Hugh Masekela – The Boy’s Doin’ It (Carl Craig remix) 
Two historically politically charged cities join forces as Detroit meets Johannesburg as C2 tackles South African flugelhorn player Hugh Masekela.
Maurizio – Domina (Carl Craig’s mind remix) 
A true house masterpiece as Craig energises Mark Ernestus and Mauritz Von Oswald’s dub techno with swinging 909s, sub-bass and mind-melting pad swirls.
Telex – Moskow Diskow (Carl Craig remix) 
Odd-ball Italo gem from 1979 gets thumped up by C2 in one of his best remixes.
Theo Parrish – Falling Up (Carl Craig remix) 
For many, the quintessential Carl Craig remix. Techno meets Jazz with stunning effect.
Faze Action – In The Trees (Carl Craig mix #1) 
Opening with paranoid synths bursts, the track goes to the next level as those strings come into play.
Throbbing Gristle – Hot On The Heels Of Love (Carl Craig Re-Version) 
Thumping, psychedelic, big room techno
Tony Allen – Kilode (Carl Craig’s straight remix) 
Fela Kuti’s drummer, Tony Allen gets transported into the future as a breaky intro full of street vocals leads into a ridiculously funky bassline, and quite possibly the best kick drum in house history.
Junior Boys – Like A Child (Carl Craig remix) 
C2 turns the playful original into a sinister uptempo soundscape of arpeggio leads, hushed vocals and metallic pads.
Rhythm & Sound – Poor People Must Work (Carl Craig remix) 
Craig, Ernestus and Von Oswald join forces again, this time on the Berlin duos Rhythm & Sound project as Craig takes Bobbo Shanti’s vocals out from under the smokey dub haze into the dancefloor stratosphere. Check out our guide to the best Rhythm & Sound records here
GusGus – Polyesterday (Carl Craig’s Shot In The Leg Dub) 
A severely underplayed remix that easily stands the test of time despite being nearly 20 years old. All acid-riffs, floaty vocals and rolling claps. The vocal remix is equally as good.
Alexander Robotnick – Problèmes D’Amour (Carl Craig Remix) 
The oddball Italo-tinged original gets looped up into a disco-house roller with jazzy drums edits breaking things up.
Psychostasia Recordings boss Reggie Dokes steps up for a journey through vintage US house.
Without question, Reggie Dokes has been one of the most under the radar producers and DJ in the underground house and techno music scene. Originally from Detroit, he was fortunate to have been exposed to a rich and diverse music scene in the 80’s, which inspired him to DJ at the young age of 14. After taking a break from music to pursue an education, Reggie returned back to Detroit and music took hold again.
In 2001 he started his label Psychostasia Recordings. With releases from esteemed acts such as Juju & Jordash, Dubbyman, Gari Romalis and Reggie himself, the label has received much attention for its leftfield but soulful output.
Now based in Atalanta, Reggie continues to push a unique style of electronic music and as follows if his Instagram account will testify, Reggie is far more than a loop sequencer, often contributing live instrumentation and rhythms into his productions.
Reggie has been one of our favourite producers for a long time so we’re delighted that he’s put together a mix that personifies deep house music.
What’s been your journey from music fan to a highly-rated producer of electronic music?
Since the age of fourteen, I have always been a fan of this music. A lot of my exposure to this great music came from Chicago first, then New York. I was a DJ first. Then in 2001, is when I started my label and producing music. I like to keep it interesting by producing house, techno, hip hop and whatever else I feel. I just love music, period.
What have you been up to recently?
Just released an album, and a collaboration EP with my London friend Moody Waters. I have started to release a lot of my music now across all digital platforms including Bandcamp. I am currently working on a house EP, where I am challenging myself to play the bass and guitar, that will be released in a few months.
You’ve been involved in the upcoming Detroit Techno documentary “God Said Give Em Drum Machines” – can you tell us more about the project and your involvement?
Well this documentary talks about the origin of techno in Detroit, and how this genre influenced the world. Kristen Hill and his partner Ms. Washington are the producers of this project. They allowed me to come in as a composer, and create original music to this film. Lately that has been my new passion. Atlanta has become the new Hollywood, so I have chosen to blaze a new path with my music career in film composing.
If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be?
It can’t just be one, life is way too short. In the electronic world it would be Carl Craig and Jeff Mills. In the world of Hip Hop, I want to collaborate with Royce Da 5’9, Nas, and Jaden Smith. In the R&B world I would collaborate with the new artist H.E.R.
Where was this mix recorded and what did you use?
Nothing fancy. This was an all vinyl mix, nothing preplanned. I just went on how I felt that day musically and spiritually. The mix was recorded at home on a Numark mixer and two technic 1200s.
“Only a momma’s boy cares about artwork!” — Omar S / FXHE
If you thought that FXHE Records was just another House or Techno label, think again.
The label’s sound is pretty much synonymous with the music of its honcho — Omar S, an eccentric Deep House veteran from Detroit, well-known for the straightforward way he markets the imprint.
The label’s catalogue pretty much consists of Omar’s releases, occasionally spiced up with a few “guest” EP’s from people like Marcellus Pittman, Roy Davis Jr., Big Strick, Kyle Hall, Norm Talley, OB Ignitt, Luke Hess, and other sharks of the Detroit Techno & House scenes. Each FXHE record is a nod to the people who started it all in the middle of the eighties.
In order to understand FXHE, you need to observe the label in a certain context. While Omar’s early work appears to be ahead of its time, his latest projects are retrospective and nostalgic, while being listened to today, in 2018, despite the booming popularity of “Outsider” House and Techno.
FXHE has always embraced the style of what producers today call “outsider.” This is a testament to the fact that the idea there is a solid idea behind what the label puts out. The artists on it never wanted to be part of the musical zeitgeist. They were never interested in the fads and trends of the industry. They have worked in expressing their own artistic visions. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you were looking for a release that put the label on the map, it was definitely “002,” an incredibly smooth EP, released back in 2003. This seemingly minimalistic record allowed Omar to showcase his talent in crafting captivating and entrancing nine-minute tracks, with almost no progression, tracks like “Miss You” and “U.” In “002,”
Omar was inclined towards a more organic sound, different from the rawer and rougher style that he developed an interest for later on in his career.
And there’s no secret behind why “002” was popular back in the day — it was innovative and versatile. While the first two tracks “Miss You” and “U” sound like Deep House anthems of the late 00’s and early 10’s, the last track, “Set It Out” is a frenetic Deep House banger but with a heavy Ghettotech spin to it, brought to you by a load of syncopated toms. It almost sounds like a track off Dance Mania.
Not only that, the record remains very relevant today. There have been 7 represses of this EP since 2013, which just pretty much confirms how important this record is fifteen years after its release.
One of the latest LP’s Omar has put out, sounds like a compilation, rather than a thought out album. But let’s be honest, the name of the album pretty much implies it, right?
“The Best” was released on four twelve-inch records that host 11 uncanny tracks, some are even slightly unsettling. Here Omar doesn’t just deliver just a couple of white-label bangers, he explores the murkier and weirder corners of House music. Drum programming has become much more complex, but it didn’t lose any of that “dance floor charisma.” On the contrary, this is an album that needs to be listened as if Omar has nothing to prove to his audience or to his critics. The production is snappy at times, but it remains very funk-driven. To a person that is about to dive into the man’s/label’s catalog, it’s great to listen to “002” and “The Best!” in contrast. The latter is much more “in-your-face” and audacious. In this LP, you’ll also find a few collaborations with long-term friends of Omar’s like Kyle Hall and Big Strick.
Two years after the label released its first record, Marcellus Pittman released an eponymous EP, which still receives heavy rotation today. “M. Pittman” features three head-nodding tracks, which go hand in hand with the aesthetics of the label.
At first glance this is just a stripped down Detroit Techno release, with a “Housier” drum programming. But after having listened to the release a few times, it becomes apparent that the tracks have no basslines. Instead, Pittman just cranked the sustain on the kick drums. The decision to strip the songs of bass transformed them into really tribal and sultry compositions.
Pittman released a follow-up EP a year later called “M.Pittman #2,” which is a more laid-back project with much lighter percussion and less obtrusive kick drums. Both “M. Pittman” and “M. Pittman #2” are significant milestones on the FXHE roadmap, since they remain relevant today. Pittman’s early work is now receiving a lot of attention especially from the Russian House and Techno scene, and can often be heard in the DJ sets of popular artists like Nina Kraviz and OL.
Big Strick is a name you’ll see a lot on Omar’s label and “7 Days” is among his most noteworthy projects. The EP flirts with Afrocentric motives, especially “Black Talk,” which touches on the social injustices that the African-American communities are facing in modern-day America.
“7 Days” sounds more like a compilation of artistic statements that aren’t destined to be played in clubs, but rather given maximum attention while listened to at home. Especially since only one track is longer than four minutes.
The entire record is moody and introspective, a style very specific to Big Strick, an aficionado of percussive, minor, but self-assertive House music.
Another eclectic compilation from the label head himself released back in 2006. Yet again, this record can’t be called “thought out,” and neither can Omar be called an “Album artist,” but that doesn’t in any way diminish the artistic value of this release.
The highlight of “006” is “Churchill,” a track that can surely be called among Omar’s most memorable tracks. It’s a nasty and murky banger with a very heavy, almost gabba-esque kick drum and a really catchy bassline. This isn’t the main mood of the record. Omar very skillfully plays with IDM-ish themes in “Polynesia” and “Micronesia,” while two other two tracks feature almost naïve melodies, which nevertheless contain lots of raw energy that is highly appreciated on the dance floor.
Think of Sound Shelter as your own personalised record store.
As DJs and vinyl collectors ourselves, we know the time and effort that not only goes into finding new records, but also actually finding a store that sells the record you want.
So we’ve taken the best parts of an online record store, like curation and quality listening samples and combined it with machine learning and a real-time marketplace that connects you with an independent record store selling the record you want.
It’d be pretty difficult to make a mess of the ridiculously funky chorus of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Mighty Mighty”. It’d also be relatively easy to make a mediocre loopy disco track from the sample and still have a playable track.
Thankfully in the hands of the former Slum Village DJ, justice is done and the result is a wonderfully energetic dancefloor killer that should outlast Dez Andres biggest hit to date, “New 4 U”.
Want to hear more house brilliance? Head over to Sound Shelter and check out some similar tracks to Andres – Mighty Tribe