THEO PARRISH / Jill Scott “Slowly Surely” (Ugly Edit)
Love of the music should be the driving force of any producer, performer or DJ. Everything else stems from that core, that love. With that love, sampling can become a tribute – an expansion on ideas long forgotten, reconstruction, collage. —Theo ParrishThis trance music isn’t for everybody. It’s probably not even for most. It’s dance music at its simplest, but also at its deepest. This is rhythm and melody repeating and repeating and repeating. These are sounds that hear you, feel you, breathe you. These are sounds that move you as you move to them. These sounds take you apart to put you back together. When Jill sings “Slowly Surely,” Theo sees a blank rhythm canvas needing to be filled. Jill murmurs, “I-I-I just don’t know” and there’s Theo waiting. There’s Theo, the tender deconstructionist. There’s Theo, deep in love with sound. There’s Theo, re/creating beauty. Do you hear all eight rhythms at the nine-minute mark of Jill’s edit? (Or do you hear more? My ears aren’t perfect.) Do you shiver like me when Theo changes the groove at precisely 3:08 of Anthony’s edit? Can you see where Theo’s coming from? The truth is, it’s really not that heavy. But then, it is. It’s an ‘expansion on ideas long forgotten.’ It’s ancient and it’s futurist. It’s yesterday and it’s tomorrow. It’s the rhythm dance – reconstruction, collage. —Mtume ya Salaam Theo Parrish’s “Ugly Edits” are a series of ten promotional-only reinterpretations of soul, funk, house and disco. They’re vinyl only, hard to find and expensive when you do find them. For copies of your own, Google ‘Theo Parrish’ and ‘ugly edit.’ This store has #1 in stock now. Next week, more Theo. Golden: Remake & Remix Theo Parrish is doing important work. Very important. Yet even as admire what he is doing, to my ears much of his work is unattractive. It’s a taste thing. I appreciate him, but his work doesn’t sit well on my musical tongue. It’s not because it’s different. I dig Cecil Taylor and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. It’s not that it’s remixes or that’s it’s electronic. It’s simply not my taste. Which brings me to an original, a remake and three remixes that are my taste and are in the vein of what Theo Parrish is doing. When Mtume dropped that Jill Scott remix my face immediately screwed up. How could my man Theo make Jill sound ugly? That was my first thought. Jill Scott is one of the most refreshing voices, personalities and images on the contemporary set. It seems almost sacrilegious not to come up with something elegant. Even her failures are interesting because she’s always reaching. Plus, she has her own sound and her own ideas. Listen to the original and then compare. Unfortunately I don’t have background material on the producers who did the remixes. I copped these remixes on one of my internet trolling voyages. I can’t even tell you where you can get the tracks other than listening to BoL. In fact, I have two or three other remixes of Jill’s beautiful “Golden” song. The House version is there just to annoy Mtume. Seriously, I like a lot of house music. Mtume likes Theo, I like house. That’s just the way it is. Anyway, of the two house oriented mixes, I like Wookie’s Sunshine Vocal remix a lot. The Dave Chapelle Block Party version is hip as a window into Jill Scott’s jazz roots. I wish it had been a chorus or two longer but even in this abbreviated version Scott’s talent shines through. I close with the Blackbeard version. Isn’t it gorgeous? This is a prime example of what a remix ought to be: offering the listener a different rainbow color to complement the original and beautify the musical sky. (Say, Mtume, when you going to drop that Blackbeard feature I know you got in the file cabinet?) Remix is the 21st century formula for making music. (Yeah, I know it started in the 20th century.) The best remixes are compositions unto themselves, using pre-existing material to craft new and innovative musical edifices. —Kalamu ya Salaam
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