Theo Parrish, Any Other Styles


Photo by Suren Manveylan

[Sound Signature]


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When I recently mentioned on Twitter that I really dig this new Theo Parrish record, no one agreed, and many vehemently disagreed. As with many of Theo’s releases over the past couple years, Any Other Styles is something of a controversial record, but thankfully this time incidentals such as price or availability aren’t part of the controversy. Ripping a page out of RZA’s book (and why shouldn’t he, since he’s already so deft with ODB’s verse on “Protect Ya Neck”), “Any Other Styles” sees Parrish whipping up a flurry of kung-fu samples, and it’s the composition here that seems to have many unconvinced. The sounds don’t fall neatly into a grid, and the first couple minutes have kicks and “hi-yah!”s flying at you with seemingly zero rhythmic coherence. A hi-hat fixes that, though, and the samples settle down into a thumping groove.

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Working his MPC as only he knows how, “Any Other Styles” finds itself at times in a linear groove, while at others it seems like the whole thing is about to derail. This tug-of-war between heads-down kung-fu rhythms and cacophonous clusterfucks make it one of Parrish’s most confounding cuts to date, as its easy to feel quite lost within the track and its many patterns. A short version on the flip is a nice addition to have, but it’s the longer A-side that feels more vital. Those looking for something a little more straight laced will be happy with “Beat These,” a rough beat track that rolls along in typical Sound Signature style. All in all, Any Other Styles is a strong release — one of the strongest from Theo in some time. But because it reeks of Parrish putting out tracks with little concern for how his fans will react, it’s understandable for some to be turned off by it. Artists who reach this stage can either stay compelling or get so lost in a world that only makes sense to them and they lose their audience. Parrish is nowhere near that, as missives like Any Other Styles are far too amusing, interesting, and, yes, groovy, to ignore.

ale  on August 15, 2012 at 10:15 AM

curious to know if that was a release by mr pinco pallino, perfect unknown, do u think u would have been the same opinion or not?

Enda  on August 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM

I like it, and don’t get all the controversy either.
I don’t think Theo Parrish (or any other other artist for that matter) owes a thing to his fans as far as his creative output is concerned.

kuri  on August 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM

our preconceptions of respected artists can’t help but cloud and inform our opinions. i personally can’t get with this release, Theo or unknown artist alike.

Communicator  on August 15, 2012 at 11:14 AM

I found this pretty damn funky and amusing. I would definitely beat this. The beginning hits don’t feel too random either, seems pretty mixable. I like hearing an artist put things out that break out of any expectations we have for their sound; but this definitely sounds like Theo’s rhythmic pacing in the percussion when it peeks out behind the Kung-Fu.

Rivet  on August 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I love it but find the production/pressing a bit bleak

dahn  on August 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

When words like “controversy” come up just because some folks find some record by some house producer “not danceable” I can’t help but feel kind of ashamed for being part of this culture. We’re talking about the lowest form of discourse here, which is flat out disgusting. I mean, there’s so many people for whom EDM was not the first pop kult genre, not the first love of their musical lifes, people who are coming from shit like (post-)punk, modern/free jazz and psych and shit. NOISE. All us folks can do when these “controversies” arise or a “statement” is made in “not using a straight beat” (ugh, hate this one too) is laugh at this shit. It’s ridiculous! It’s not all funny comic-y though, call me over-sensitive but this shit also really makes me feel alienated. This is not against the review, not at all, the review’s fine. It’s against close-minded EDM culture-losers w/ internet connections delving in non-discussions and indirectly polluting my favorite music sites (cheers, lwe!) by the influence their brainshit has on the “scene”.

veloziped  on August 15, 2012 at 1:20 PM

@ale: sei italiano?

struggle  on August 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM

I played this for my 5 year old son the other day and he yelled “this is not music!”. I told him it was and that he needs to be more open minded, but he wasn’t having it.

m@earth  on August 16, 2012 at 10:28 AM

This record is a tactical device for the extended set session style dj and it’s Theo in full beatdown mode. There’s some really good bits tucked around inside it when the pieces come together, but to get into them there’s a big sloppy mess. Very effective floor hit or miss potential for set up and take down mode mixing.

Kenny  on August 16, 2012 at 3:14 PM

sounds like a handicapped cow headbutting an mpc.
it’s also guilty of the worst crime, it’s boring, much like quite a bit of his recent material. It’s just a load of samples trundled out that go nowhere – bar locking into an ookaaaay groove every so often. No effort put into it, much like a couple of rubbish remixes he’s done recently (gene hunt and shangaan)

Anton Kipfel  on August 16, 2012 at 3:21 PM

When I first heard this I thought it was gutsy and pretty cool. But more spins have aligned me closer with Kenny. Both his remixes and originals in the last 18 months have been boring or so esoteric that one wonders if anyone besides Theo would want to listen to them. And sure, that’s de rigueur for him, but the difference is that most times people actually want to listen whether he cares or not.

I really want to like “Any Other Styles,” but in the end it’s honestly rather hard to listen to. It’s like a tangle of cords so knotted and immense you just give up and walk away. I feel like in the hands of someone like Madteo, who would have injected some space into it, rather than just bludgeoning ears for nearly nine minutes.

pipecock  on August 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM

I remember when ppl said similarly negative things about Theo’s now classic jams. I haven’t picked this one up yet so I can’t really say for sure how I feel about it, but the samples sound pretty out there. I certainly haven’t been a fan of those recent remixes for the most part, tho I did like the one Monster Orchestra thing. The Gene Hunt one was just whatever, it was only the Shangaan one that pretty much offended me with how bad it was.

But regardless, I think it’s great that Theo doesn’t keep putting out the same record over and over again. I have generally dug his recent originals, like “Black Music”, “STFU”, and the whole Sketches album. Really out there weird shit, you certainly don’t hear anyone else doing shit like this for better or for worse…

Danny D  on August 16, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Every time I’ve seen Theo DJ he’s completely ruined the vibe of the party.

At least this is something different… and something nobody would want to copy. In that aspect, he’s keeping it real.

AYBEE  on August 19, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Here is a nice Theo interview at CDR where he’s speaking of his inspiration behind the joint in question > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97G9lETR6s4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

littlewhiteearbuds  on August 19, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Thanks, Aybee!

mats  on August 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM

I think it’s totally fine that Theo is moving in a more left field direction.
Like some other poster said, I listen a lot of other styles besides dance music, and I could care less if it’s danceable or not. As long as it’s good.
And here’s the problem: To me it just seems kinda uninspired.
And it’s not that it’s so “weird” and out there that I don’t get it ’cause I’m not used to it, (at least I don’t think so :)
I think he might have to crank up the quality control a bit.

Seems to me he is in some kind of transitional/growing phase where he want’s to break free from the confines of dance music culture.
And more power to him for doing that, he certainly has the abilities,
but there seems to be some growing pains.
To me his latest releases sounds like the work a frustrated artist,
and in a very weird move he recently released the Sound Signature Sounds Vol. 2 CD with lots of his classic tracks in the in the most god-awful sound quality (yes it’s really bad, give it a listen) .
It’s totally out of phase, and I’m pretty sure it’s deliberate and he’s just giving his CD buying fans the middle finger.

mats  on August 21, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Oh, and one more thing, I just went to youtube and listened to those remixes some people here were mentioning.
And it kind of telling and a bit of sad.

Theo used to be one of the very best and most exciting remixers, usually completely deconstructing the whole track, and making some totally new piece of music from the parts.
Not only that, they were usually far better, outshining the originals.
These new remixes sound like he was collecting a pay check.

Geir  on August 23, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Incidentally, are those two tracks Theo talk about that he made with cubase (in the interview aybee linked to above) the same as those that people say are shit?

For the record: I dig both “any other style” and “stfu”.

Geir  on August 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM

And the shangaan remix is rad. I love how Theo delves into contemporary West-African music, am I the only one though? I have seen that single on sale two places at least. The flip on it is good too. That Gene Hunt remix is pretty weak though, just like Theos late night remix of Wilhites “What can you see?”.

chris miller  on August 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM

i dunno man, that shangaan remix…. given how good all of them are, theo’s remix really disappointed me

Jim Little  on August 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

The best moment for me was when I took Theo down from the fanboy pedestal I had put him on, and realized that if I like it I’ll buy it, and if I don’t like it I don’t have to. I appreciate that he puts a lot of his creative process out in public, which as see says in the CDR clip, is a luxury you have when you run your own label. Maybe he didn’t intellectualize it like this, but I bet part of him was thinking, “It’s my name on the masthead, bitchez!”

Dago Mad  on September 8, 2012 at 7:50 AM

As strange as this one sounds, I remember hearing him play a much cruder version of this off CDr in june ’11…that version had nothing but discombobulated, knife-edged kung-fu sounds, no percussion, high hats etc..

Baddest thing about it he dropped at a small, private wedding party in a Chelsea art gallery ! Mad mad Theo ;)

Trackbacks

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