Scott Grooves, Classic 909

[Natural MIDI]

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Earlier this year, Detroit mainstay Scott Grooves launched a series of records in homage to the Roland gear crucial to the fertilization of techno. February brought the first installment, DeTRoit 808 — the best record I’ve heard all year. In its original version, “808” drew from both the retro novelty of its creation (produced on the titular analog drum machine) and the fluid funk streaming from Grooves’ mind. A technical demonstration from a producer of truly singular sensibilities, “808” was simply stunning. A pair of “Dub Delay” mixes, credited to Panther, teased a breaking-dawn mist from Grooves’ pads. Though Panther’s modifications owed little to what’s typically called “dub techno,” their bottomless-abyss echo and windswept textures were just what I hope for whenever I encounter the genre tag. The second installment (of a planned trilogy) takes on the twenty-five-year-old Roland 909.

The original mix of “909” is dominated by prowling, low-to-the-ground funk bass lines and flurries of snare and cymbal crash. As with last year’s “Coco Brown,” the sound palette and composition of “909” echo bygone musical eras, but its raw, elemental techno rolls with ample agility and potency to move bodies independent of history or context. That said, there are several exuberant, upbeat passages that come off a little more novel than essential. These are revisited on “909 (Reprise),” where their keyboard-demo excess may prove an acquired taste to some. “909 (Mix II),” on the other hand, is scrupulously restrained. Shorn of those sequences — but also missing the skulking bass lines and dense sheets of cymbals — this pared-down version emphasizes rhythm over funk. Clean, simple techno of a more contemporary strain, it’s above reproach, though I’m still more excited by the fashion-be-damned directness of the original mix. Of course, without meeting the B-side’s dub, you only half-know the record. Whoever this low-profile Panther character is, he matches his incredible work on “808.” The “TR Dub” sands down the edges of the original’s pixelated grooves, leaving them with a glossy patina of delay. Closer to an adjustment of settings and an augmentation of effects than an entirely new track, Panther’s deeper, gentler version is likely to alter your next listen to Grooves’ own versions. And it’ll do the same to a late night bus ride.

thewhiteGobliNN  on August 21, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Smooth as silkK its good to see people still enjoy original sounds ,not treated to death on Logic or Ableton. Love both programs mind you. Nice work!ALLROUND.

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