Switched On – Theo Parrish mixes the next instalment of !K7’s DJ Kicks series

by Ben Hogwood

DJ Kicks, the jewel in !K7’s crown, is one of the longest running series of mix compilations – and in the last year they have enjoyed stellar contributions from Disclosure, Jessy Lanza and Cinthie. However they are set to go one better than even that, with a rare guest appearance from Theo Parrish, who has carved a creative homage to his home city in the form of Detroit Forward.

Parrish himself says, “Detroit creates. But rarely imitates. Why? We hear and see many from other places do that with what we originate. No need to follow. Get it straight. In the Great Lakes there’s always more under the surface – more than what appears to penetrate the top layer of attention and recognition. What about those that defy tradition? Those that sidestep the inaccurate definitions often given from outside positions? This is that evidence. Enjoy.”

The 90-minute mix will include Ian Fink’s Moonlite, which you can hear below to get a flavour of the compilation:

DJ Kicks: Detroit Forward will be released on 28 October on !K7 – and you can be sure to read more about it on these pages! In the meantime, you can preorder your copy here:

Download / stream tracklist:

01: De’Sean Jones & Ideeyah – Pressure

02: Donald Roland II – Simba’s Theme

03: Meftah – When The Sun Falls

04: Theo Parrish & Duminie DePorres – Real Deal

05: Specter – The Upper Room

06: Deon Jamar – North End Funk

07: Ian Fink – Moonlite (Duality/Detroit Live Version)

08: John C & Meftah – Full

09: Monica Blaire – aGain (T’s Edit)

10: De’Sean Jones – Psalm 23

11: Raybone Jones – Green Funk

12: Jon Dixon – Wind Drifts (Instrumental)

13: Whodat – Don’t Know feat. Sophiyah E.

14: KESSWA – Chasing Delerium feat. Nova Zai

15: Raj Mahal – Hudsons

16: De’Sean Jones – Flash Spain

17: Jason Hogans – Surrounded By Trees

18: Howard Thomas – Experiment 10

19: Sterling Toles – Janis

2CD tracklist:

1/01: De’Sean Jones & Ideeyah – Pressure

1/02: Donald Lee Roland II – Simba’s Theme

1/03: Meftah – When The Sun Falls

1/04: Theo Parrish & Duminie DePorres – Real Deal

1/05: Specter – The Upper Room

1/06: Deon Jamar – North End Funk

1/07: Ian Fink – Moonlight (Duality/Detroit Live Version)

2/01: John C & Meftah – Full

2/02: mBtheLight – aGAIN (T’s Edit)

2/03: De’Sean Jones – Psalm 23

2/04: Raybone Jones – Green Funk

2/05: Jon Dixon – Wind Drifts (Instrumental)

2/06: Whodat & Sophiyah.e – Don’t Know

2/07: KESSWA – Chasing Delerium feat. Nova Zai

2/08: Raj Mahal – Hudsons

2/09: De’Sean Jones – Flash Spain

2/10: Jason Hogans – Surrounded By Trees

2/11: Howard Thomas – Experiment 10

2/12: Sterling Toles – Janis

Triple vinyl tracklist:

A1: De’Sean Jones & Ideeyah – Pressure

A2: Donald Lee Roland II – Simba’s Theme

A3: Jason Hogans – Surrounded By Trees

B1: John C & Meftah – Full

B2: Meftah – When The Sun Falls

B3: De’Sean Jones – Psalm 23

C1: Ian Fink – Moonlight (Duality/Detroit Live Version)

C2: KESSWA – Chasing Delerium feat. Nova Zai

D1: Specter – The Upper Room

D2: Raj Mahal – Hudsons

E1: Raybone Jones – Green Funk

E2: Whodat & Sophiyah.e – Don’t Know

F1: Howard Thomas – Experiment 10

F2: mBtheLight – aGAIN (T’s Edit)

F3: Sterling Toles – Janis

* All tracks exclusive to ‘DJ-Kicks: Detroit Forward’, aside from ‘Real Deal’ by Theo Parrish & Duminie DePorres

Switched On – Gabe Gurnsey: Diablo (Phantasy Sound / PIAS)

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Diablo is an album for transportation. Not the car journey or train ride, though I can confirm it works on both – more the idea of transporting the listener straight into a hot, sweaty basement club somewhere, in the dead of night.

Gabe Gurnsey describes his new opus as being ‘formed out of a lot of trust and lust’, and credits his musical and physical other half, Tilly Morris, for her role in proceedings – not just as vocalist but as quality control and muse. Together they have made an album whose theme is release and escape, and to do it they use banks of keyboard sounds, vocal manipulation and a vocal hook or ten.

What’s the music like?

Hedonistic, in the best possible way. The twisting synth lines appear almost immediately on the horizon and stay for the duration, which is a good thing as they complement Morris’s voice perfectly. A fine first track, the single Push, sets out the stall, then the following Hey Diablo crackles with atmosphere.

With its vocals, Power Passion has an edge, leaning on 80s influences for its source material but also nailing a contemporary sound. The richly coloured Blessings struts forward confidently, while the synths on I Love A Sea On Fire bubble and weave, the deadpan vocal matched with liquid loops. Give Me is especially good, its vocal couplet beginning “Give me your oxygen”.

Special mention should be made of Morris, who proves the ideal foil to his electronics on this record. She brings something of the Eurythmics / Human League vibe to the table, but there is also a strong helping of Blancmange in the deadpan approach – which on repeated listening has a lot more depth than first meets the ear.

Does it all work?

Yes. There is a real frisson in a lot of these tracks, capturing the optimism and escapism we all feel on a good night in a club.

Is it recommended?

It is. Diablo is one of those albums looking backwards and forwards simultaneously, and Gurnsey’s awareness of both directions means that this new album works a treat.



Switched On – Slumberville: Harmony (Nettwerk)

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Harmony is the first album from Swedish producer Sebastian Fronda under his new Slumberville alias. Fronda has been making music for more than two decades, labelled as one of Sweden’s hip hop pioneers, and has established a strong live presence in the Nordic countries with more than 500 shows.

Slumberville is intended as a moniker under which he can make lo-fi music, dipping into his hip hop sensibilities but  making room for samples and appropriations from a number of musical forms. For Harmony, he ‘Google-watched’ a number of different places around the world, such as Paraná River, assembling a set of travelcards to document his findings in musical form.

What’s the music like?

Slumberville veers towards the horizontal in his approach on this album, but there are some enjoyably quirky moments that keep the listener guessing. For The Win is quite spiky, with its staccato cello, while Chinatown plays loosely with an Oriental melody.

The  most enjoyable track is Paraná River, with a couple of winsome melodies over a low slung bass and endearing hip hop beat, but a close second to this is the singalong What A Great Feeling, with its dreamy optimism. Fronda’s musical humour ensures there are plenty of wry smiles throughout.

Does it all work?

It does, largely – though some of the ideas here could be more fully developed into more tracks double the length. This is a compliment to the humour and subtle inspiration that runs through these tracks and their source material.

Is it recommended?

It is. Slumberville has made a diverting, quirky album that is a good deal of fun. It has endearing, light humour, and its beats have a spring in their step that lightens the mood.



Switched On – Collisions: Collisions (Naive / Believe)

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Collisions is so-named because it is the coming together of a musical trio. Tom Hodge, Ollie Newell and Ciaran Morahan are the three musicians in question, and each brings a different skill-set. Hodge is a film composer whose connections include Max Cooper and Floex, Newell is a composer and drummer, while Morahan is described as a ‘post-rock composer’, whose output includes work with Codes In The Clouds and VLMV.

What’s the music like?

There are two elements to the collaboration album – ‘Collisions’ tracks and ‘Motions’. The former set the scene and the sonic perspectives, while the latter offer free-form musical explorations, allowing Hodge’s piano and clarinet and Howell’s drums to work their magic largely unfiltered. This works particularly well. While the Collisions have a curious order (beginning with the spacious II then moving through I, III and IV), they are ideally paced. II offers a big panorama, with concrete heavy drums and spacey synths, while I is a really good blend of subtle, brushed drums and with a thoughtfully probing piano line, before bringing in a sonorous clarinet. III has a similar profile, though this time the piano is given more space to air its thoughts.

Does it all work?

Yes – and the three artists have managed to get the ideal blend of musical events and time for reflection. Collisions is in effect two genres – an underlying ambience, but with carefully thought out ideas above them that bring positive energy and vibrant colours.

Is it recommended?

Yes – enthusiastically. Collisions will reward those who enjoy musical ambience of a wider scope, such as Erland Cooper, or those who enjoy the chattering electronics of an artist such as Max Cooper, who has close connections here. Get it and revel in the musical inspiration.

Let’s Dance – Various Artists: Watergate 28 mixed by Biesmans (Watergate Records)

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

As the Watergate series continues its colourful journey, Belgian artist Biesmans steps up with a set made entirely of his own compositions.

He does not do this alone, working with a string of luminaries including Dusky, Mathew Jonson, Adana Twins, Kasper Bjørke, Shubostar and Mala Ika, to create a busy 80-minute mix.

What’s the music like?

This is a fine mix, make no mistake, and Biesmans wastes no time in heading for the centre of the house dancefloor. Much of the content is instrumental, but structured in such a way that the mix feels like one big piece.

Wistful entreaty let’s go on a holiday from 13:30. There are some nice, floaty big room moments at 16:04 and 21:09, then 24:39 with a reassuringly fat bass sound. Excellent 30:28 brings back memories of Let Me Show You. A big player at 51 minutes, 40 minutes excellent too. Gets a bit more old school around 61:30. 67 – 68 very good vocal from former riff from latter

Does it all work?

Pretty much. The beats may be of the solid four-to-the-floor variety, but Yamagucci is always at work within, creating interesting cross-rhythms and collections of mini hooks.

Is it recommended?

Yes, enthusiastically. Biesman hits the spot right from the start!