Ten years ago, Acid Test began with a simple concept – each track the label released would make use of the Roland TB-303. Like a producer purposefully paring down their studio setup, or the continuous imperative within underground electronic music to reduce, this concept engendered creativity with the introduction of what seemed to be an aesthetic limit. However, the decade that followed, which now culminates in the triple-LP compilation Ten Years Of Acid Test, proves acid is limitless. That the Berlin-via-LA label would expand upon the classical conception of acid house and techno is no surprise considering the cast of characters that have come in fold over the past decade. Ten Years Of Acid Test gathers key material from the label’s extended family of acid acolytes. There’s that Vienna-via-LA maestro of sad, elegant acid Tin Man (Johannes Auvinen), whose “Afters Acid” is both a highlight within his prolific catalogue and a distillation of his symphonic approach to the 303. Detroit giants Erika and Marcellus Pittman, both of whom have released remixes on Acid Test, present their respective and singular Bass Line visions. Erika, the Interdimensional Transmissions lynchpin, crafts a dark, delicate take on broken techno on “Violet Fungus” while Pittman continues his cubist house explorations on “Unknown Species,” both tracks straying from typical acid lines in favor of the intricate textures achievable on the 303. This variation in approach applies to tempo as well. Irish-based master Lerosa, as well as Delsin affiliate VC-118A, delve into downtempo atmospherics. Meanwhile, Japanese deep techno virtuoso Wata Igarashi, SUED co-founder SW. (a regular on Acid Test’s leftfield sub-label Avenue 66) and Patricia (one-half of Acid Test act Ociya) use acid as a creative jumping-off point for complex melodic concepts. Wata layers an orchestra of synth-bliss drone overtop a squelchy bassline on “Ephemeral.” SW.’s “ChaIAnJAzzz” cycles through an array of dusted chords eventually landing in skewed, fuzzy rave nostalgia, anthemic chords held aloft by a wicked UK-flavour bass line. Patricia’s “Higher Still” explores dreamy, IDM-flavoured acid, cinematic synthlines counterbalanced by propulsive, squelching acid. Acid Test devotees will be thrilled at the return of various luminaries from the catalogue, including Achterbahn D’Amour, Skudge, AAAA, John Tejada and Donato Dozzy, whose memorable remix of Tin Man’s “Nonneo” from Acid Test 01 served as a kind of proof of concept for the label. There’s new blood too. San Francisco up-and-comer Sepehr makes his label debut with the excellent “Persian Acid Prince,” as does Andreas Tilliander’s beloved hardware techno project, TM404. Ten Years Of Acid Test is a valuable portrait of a group of artists linked by a dedication to innovation within acid, in line with the genre’s storied roots. Over ten years, Acid Test has gracefully made a case for the 303’s past, present and future, the story of acid continuing to unfurl in unpredictable, addictive patterns.
Sound Signature presents the return of the Essential Selections series. 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.
Motor City veteran Marcellus Pittman has been in fine form since returning from a four-year hiatus in early 2018. This EP – his third of the year – is, of course, really rather good. Opener “Something Like (A Dream)” is particularly good, offering a perfect balance between the rolling, head-nodding, pitched-down lusciousness of Beatdown and the spacey, delay-laden warmth of more peak-time focused Detroit deep house. If you’re looking for something a little less smooth, check the low-slung, off-kilter, cyber-acid rawness of “Jamie 326 Tsot”. While rather good, it feels a little out of place next to the fluttering, stripped-back deep house tunefulness of “Breath Beat”, whose echoing chords are especially alluring.
We are blessed with another 12inch from Marcellus Pittman’s Unirhythm Records. True to Pittman’s genre free approach to music – on this record we hear sounds from the ethereal to the creepy, from the dirty to the deep.
Two killer Marcellus Pittman tracks on a new 12” for his own Unirhythm Records. Deep and wild rhythm workouts in true Pittman fashion.
Funkadelic have created an enduring legacy, and the power of their impact is visceral in Detroit. Their records not only played with genre, but possessed a diabolical sense of humour that led to music domination by the late 70s with Parliament, Funkadelic, Parlet, Bootsy’s Rubber Band and the Brides Of Funkenstein all releasing albums the same year for two years in a row. The music itself is beyond stereotype, but equally huge is that they were a black band not allowing themselves to be limited by anyone else’s notions of who they could be, having a massive impact on the next generation of Detroit music, Detroit Techno. But more than just Techno, it is a freedom of thinking that extends beyond boxes, so we included all sorts of today’s generation of Detroit musicians and producers to show the wide range of music that was Funkadelic and how these ideas are still contemporary, they endure and inspire.
Amid whispers of a new album from Unirhythm boss and Three Chairs stalwart Marcellus Pittman, two tracks from his excellent debut LP Pieces finally get committed to wax. It’s a shame Pieces never got a vinyl release, but the chance to grip “Sneak Attack” and “Random Acts Of Insanity” on 12″ should not be passed up. This 12″ was actually released in ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ white label format in 2014, but finally gets a proper issue! For those that don’t have the LP, “Sneak Attack” is a curious concoction, with Syclops style electronics occasionally flowering over deep, dusty, intricately programmed rhythms. “Random Acts Of Insanity” feels a little bolder in approach, though its’ rich chords and odd, off-kilter rhythm track are contrasted with some notably bonkers electronic touches.
Fragil Musique’s 14th release comes from Cosmjn, young and rising Romanian producer delivering a perfect and subtly crafted dancefloor outline. To elevate the gem even more, none other than Marcellus Pittman on the B side. Here, it’s all a matter of generous and appealing curves, for a deep and soft-spoken re arrangement that keeps true to the original.
Achterbahn D’Amour’s machinefunk opus, “Odd Movements.” gets reworked with 4 sonically diverse remixes. Detroit don Marcellus Pittman kicks things off with a massive, unsettling flip of “Holy Roman Empire.” The Italian producer Chevel is up next with a virtuosic take on the LP’s title track. His cubist, artfully restrained version ends with over a minute of icy techno snap. Convextion, as well, chooses to hold back for maximum impact, infusing the moody “Passagen” with subdued electro bounce. Finally, SW. imbuesthe duo’s “Konigstr” with dubbed-out breakbeat pressure, occasionally allowing the original acid line to seep through a skittering rave rhythm.
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. 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; 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”.
A modern boogie 7” on Unirhythm!? Yep, you heard right! Marcellus Pittman graces the A-Side of the disc on ‘1044 Coplin’ – a nice slice of mid west funk sure to appeal to all the boogie heads worldwide. On the flip we have the Unirhythm debut from Detroit’s own John Cannon. John C is a veteran producer and MC, most recently featured on the J DIlla album ‘Rebirth Of Detroit.’ No suprise there – we definitely hear some Dilla on ‘J.C.’s Groove.’
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.
‘Our time is now’ and ‘Extra credit’, are two detroit-flavoured house tracks with sequences coming from Mars and melancholic keys with the unmistakable Marcellus Pittman mood. The release is closed by ‘Happy to be here’, a gloomy downbeat-Hip hop track made with MPC.
The ever-loving team at Still Music present yet another unmissable selection of East side beats, this time shifting focus from Chicago to Detroit to shine the light on some of the less celebrated talents operating in the city. There is boundless quality at every turn here, from the jazzed out tones of Craig Huckaby to the raw chemistry of Marcellus Pittman. Terrence Dixon does an excellent demonstration of wormhole techno with “The Fall Guy (Part 1)”, and DJ 3000 brings a demonic brand of slow-chugging house to the table. Alex Israel also reminds everyone that he truly is one of the most slept-on gems the Motor City has to offer, so get busy and connect with this utterly essential selection.
Remixes from Rick Wilhite’s Vibes compilation on Rush Hour, with Andres & Ricardo Miranda stepping up and delivering.
Hexagon Cloud RMXD celebrates the diverse influences of Erika’s solo release Hexagon Cloud on Interdimensional Transmissions Marcellus Pittman remixed the hypnotic Tow Ride from Erika’s debut Solo album with a stated goal of making it darker and ”more evil”. Canadian electronic music duo Orphx, remixed Hexagon Cloud, resulting in an immense, impeccable production. BMG, Erika’s mate in Ectomorph, also shares his vision of her track, A Cellular Meltdown.
Three chairs with a new releases… 4 hot tracks of which the opener Demigods (a1) is a sick acid injected Detroit house cut in a style fusion of Marcellus Pittmann and Theo Parris. 6 mile is another stunner on this Ep wih a nice rolling beat and an upbeat feel.