I’m a big fan of Theo Parrish. I don’t keep up with anything in dance music at all. Not anymore. And yet I hear Parrish and recognise his, er, footprints instantly. He is techno on the jazz tip – or at least there’s a jazziness about what he’s doing. His music is also sometimes a flat-nosed funk-beast, as opening cut here, Hambone Cappuccino suitably demonstrates, all wonky-beat and wooziness, like one of Madlib’s DJ Rels-persona deep cuts just stirred from an even deeper sleep.
But Parrish is always stretching out – moving away from other versions of himself to offer all sorts of templates. So there’s programmed beats and samples of real drum kits mingling, there’s ambient techno (Radar Detector) and neo-soul (This Is For You), there’s pinwheel funk that breezes by on its broken-beat bike with a (deliberately) flattened tire (the title track) and there’s bedsit geekery (Angry Purple Birds) that feels both minimalist and expansive all at once – in that same way that Mortiz von Oswald has by letting techno stew in its own juices.
Wuddaji intentionally wrong-steps itself (All Your Boys Are Biters) with dance-music for the party deep inside your head and enjoys reinventing classic funk right before your eyes and as if it’s only ever going to be for your ears (Knew Better Do Better). You rush off to convince someone else – and they won’t believe you. You drop back down into the sofa, or keep strolling apace with your earbuds in and the sounds from Theo Parrish’s Detroit back-alley cookout twirl and swirl and dance deep within you.
I love this album – as I’ve loved many Theo Parrish records and EPs previously. But Waddaji seems to go deeper towards funk (thanks to Amp Fiddler sitting in) and enjoys itself more in the summer-daze jazzy moments (Hennyweed Buckdance). There’s something for everyone here but this never sounds like it isn’t all from the one musical mind.
I don’t know if this is one of Parrish’s best – it probably is – but it’s certainly one of my favourites.
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