Delano Smith, Midnite EP

[Third Ear Recordings]

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Last time LWE checked in with Delano Smith, he was making probably the only decent record of 2008 that namechecked “Detroit.” Smith’s “Something For Myself,” off the “Sunrise EP,” vocalized what many people might have forgotten about the Motor City: “There’s so many sounds, it’s limitless.” The likes of Reggie Dokes, Theo Parrish, Andrés or “Shake” Shakir have all backed up that claim this year with a bewildering variety of music that has been anything but predictable, and defied any preconceived notions about what the term “Detroit techno” might define. Smith’s own uniformly excellent releases this year, however, have been markedly less avant-garde than say, Theo’s wilder 2009 moments. Smith, having labored under the tutelage of the legendary Ken Collier in his formative years, has a far more classicist bent than some of his peers; nonetheless, “Midnite” may surprise a few people who have more conservative expectations of the D.

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Opener “A Special Kind Of” may come as a shock to some fans of “Sunrise”; it’s essentially a disco edit, but to attentive students of Detroit’s musical history it can be read as a tribute to Collier in a similar manner to Terrence Parker’s recently re-released “Your Love.” A bouncing house beat, a stomping honky-tonk piano riff, rising strings, and an infectious vocal exclaiming “you must be some special kind of freeeeeak” are the simple ingredients for a slice of dance floor satisfaction that could have been made any time in the last twenty years. And it sounds no worse for that. Still, those who found themselves drawn time and time again into Smith’s orbit by his emotive early morning vibes on the previous Third Ear excursion will not be disappointed by “Dees Gruv” or “The Explanation.” High quality, deeper techno workouts in the vein of Sistrum or Aesthetic Audio, there is little to say about either other than that both should be ruthlessly effective at keeping people moving in the later hours. Closing track “Truth” shares similarities with previous Mixmode tune “This Heart” — clicky, funky percussion matched to repetition of the titular phrase. Functional is not a four-letter word. “Midnite” is a reasonably eclectic, absolutely solid record of four tracks that like “Sunrise” will not blow your head, but will keep it nodding for far longer than your average floor fodder. Smith’s sounds may not be limitless, but they might still be timeless.

harrison  on November 26, 2009 at 6:15 PM

as usual with delano, every track is great!


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