20 Below - "A Lil' Tribute To The Moody Black Keys" (7:28)
20 Below - "Jus' Nite Groovin'" (4:59)
Review: Motor City Drum Ensemble man Danilo Plessow believes that this split 12", first released on Manchester's Rainy City Music 20 years ago, is one of the finest deep house records ever to emerge from the UK (he's not alone, either - Theo Parrish and Jeremy Underground are also fans). For this official reissue, all three tracks have been re-mastered from the original DAT tapes. City People's ten-minute "It's All In The Groove", where delay-laden percussion hits and sparkling, Si Brad style synth flashes ride a deliciously deep, disco-house groove, kicks things off in fine style. The other two tracks are solo efforts from City People man Irfan Hussain; both "A Lil Tribute To The Moody Black Keys" and "Jus' Nite Groovin" sound like classic Chez Damier productions.
Review: Given that it was Danilo Plessow (AKA Motor City Drum Ensemble) and Pablo Valentino (Creative Swing Alliance) that established MCDE Recordings a decade ago, it seems fitting that they should star on the label's 10th anniversary release. They've saved a couple of special tracks for the occasion - A-side "Don't You Ever Change", featuring the soulful, bluesy vocals of Ahmed Lanes, is particularly sumptuous, coming on like an Amp Fiddler-fronted Moodymann record. "Loops For Eternity" is a little jazzier but explores similar sonic pastures, with the duo layering woozy chords, electric piano solos and eyes-closed vocal samples over a chunky, rolling groove.
Review: Laurent Garnier turned many-an unsuspecting head by appearing on 50 Weapons earlier this year, and before they've had a chance to look back in the other direction the infamous and much-loved Frenchman turns up on MCDE. It swiftly follows a hailed back-to-back DJ set he and MCDE boss Danilo Plessow played at Lyon's Nuits Sonores festival this year, and like Garnier did for 50 Weapons, he's attuned his sound to fit the label. Across both "Psyche-Delia" and "Whistle For Frankie", Garnier's seemingly taken the elements he loved most from Plessow's Raw Cuts series - warm pads, loose drums, bangin' percussion - and given them the full buffered Garnier treatment. If you love Garnier you'll obviously love this, but even more so for listeners not so inclined to the sounds of the big room French legend, this may well change your mind.
Review: With just one former appearance on a collaborative release for 8Bit, Michael Gracioppo gets snapped up by MCDE for a pair of decidedly oddball offerings with as much indie-pop and soul woven into the tracks as anything electronic. "My So-Called Friend" lolls around a vocal theme that sounds as though it could belong to The Flaming Lips school of songwriting, while a fidgety micro-beat and LFOing chords make up the musical construction. "Untitled" meanwhile pitches down a mournful croon to come on like Isaac Hayes while a snappy and detailed steppy rhythm pulses out underneath and bird noises tweet around the mix. Fred P brings a touch of focus to the first track with his remix, but still manages to keep the wayward spirit of the vocal intact.
Review: ** MCDE REPRESS ** Dani Plessow dons the Motor City Drum Ensemble name with Say A Prayer signaling a return to the production game following his much publicized creative burnout. It's clear that Plessow's period of convalescence has worked wonders, with the four tracks here every bit as deep and dusty as the much vaunted Raw Cuts series upon which the MCDE project was launched skywards. Proceedings open with the two part suite of the title track, laying down fuzzy chords and intermittent vocal swoons over a gritty 909 backbone on the opening track; part 2 meanwhile will have you digging out those Raw Cuts 12"s in order to do a MCDE master mix, such is it's immediate warmth and neck snapping drums. On the flip, Plessow uses "The Stranger" as a chance to traverse bleepier, rattling techno terrain with superb results, whilst "SP11" is rasping high octane house at it's finest.
Review: Given the "contemporary classic" status of Danilo Plessow's Raw Cuts series - arguably a string of 12" singles that helped redefine deep house for a new generation - the announcement of a surprise remix 12" is enough to make even the most level-headed DJs go weak at the knees. Pleasingly, said remixers more than live up to the hype. Marcellus Pittman's version - smooth and deep, but with enough raw disco cut-ups and wonky Detroit swing to impress those who like it raw - is particularly good, though Mike Huckaby's locked-in deep house groover is not far behind. There's also a superb version from Recloose, whose crackly, shuffling beats, sweeping pads and soulful vocal samples recall his earliest productions for Planet E.
Review: Last year, Melbourne's Harvey Sutherland signaled his arrival in emphatic fashion with the acclaimed Brothers EP for Voyage Recordings - a sumptuous, soul-flecked EP of boogie-influenced deep house. Here, he continues to impress with a superb double A-side for Dani Plessow's MCDE imprint. "Bermuda" is deliciously warm and summery, with jaunty boogie synths and cascading chords riding a smooth, shuffling deep house groove. "New Paradise" works the same formula hard, with dreamy, held-note chords and bubbly synthesizer melodies wrapping themselves around loose, analogue-sounding percussion and a rich bassline. If there were any doubts about his talents moving forward, this should dispel them. Clearly, Sutherland is here to stay.
My Son's Smile (Ge-ology Teach The Babies remix) (8:38)
Good Ol' Days (3:01)
Review: Creative Swing Alliance member Pablo Valentino has a strong track record when it comes to solo productions - see his fine EPs on Endless Flight and Faces Records for proof - so you'd expect this outing on MCDE to hit the spot. It does, of course, despite being the producer's first solo outing for nearly four years. Highlights wise, we're really loving the deep, loose and languid, jazz-funk influenced shuffle of "My Son's Smile" and the woozy, electric piano-driven instrumental hip-hop deepness of "Good Ol' Days", though the slightly more driving and percussive club cut "Atlantic's Calling (One For Portugal)" is also superb. Ge-ology's fine deep house-meets-Detroit techno take on "My Son's Smile" completes a near perfect package.