In these days of shuffling and streaming, the vogue for the curated mix CD has departed somewhat. About 15 years ago, they were a staple of my record collection, some getting played to death, such as Kruder and Dorfmeister’s absolutely brilliant “The K & D Sessions”. Released on Berlin’s !K7 in 1998, seventeen years later the same label has brought us another release that come close to the heady heights of Kruder & Dorfmeister’s effort.
Kenny Dixon Jr aka Moodymann is a veteran of the Detroit techno scene. Picking up the baton from such legendary figures as Juan Atkins and Derrick May, he isn’t someone that I have crossed paths with before but I’ll certainly go back and listen now.
This Moodymann compilation is not a techno driven mix LP. It is a slower more down tempo offering with a mix of soul, rap and even folk songs. If you have enjoyed the recent Luke Cage series on Netflix, soundtracked by Adrian Younge, then this one is for you.
This is late night music, not forcing the pace and sounding great on headphones. Managing to cram 30 tracks into the set, nothing outstays its welcome yet the mood constantly shifts without being jarring. There are some familiar artists such as Nightmares on Wax, Flying Lotus and Cody Chesnutt. Many are new to me including the opening track. “Where Will You Be?” by Yaw. A beautiful slow keening nu-soul track originally released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label. Yaw is from Chicago and has a touch of the Sam Cooke’s about him.
Dopehead “Guttah Guttah” is another highlight, a laid back rap track sampling the piano riff from Junior Mance’s 1973 jazz cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”. The quieter earlier part of the mix is maintained by Norwegian jazz chanteuse Beady Belle on “When My Anger Starts To Cry”. Recorded on the influential Scandi Jazzland label, the track is a thing of beauty.
Even when the pace picks up midway through the mix, the pace is never forced. The Detroit techno influence actually is barely there.
Quite simply, this is the best mix CD I have heard in years. If you crave for something to take you back to the days of Kruder & Dorfmeister, Gilles Peterson, David Holmes or Norman Jay, this won’t steer you wrong.