Various Artists

In the Dark: Detroit Is Back

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When Jerome Derradji's Chicago-based Still Music label released In the Dark: The Soul of Detroit in 2005, it seemed like a sequel to Third Ear's Detroit Beatdown -- another all-exclusives showcase from the Motor City's underground house and techno producers. Here's a part three, or a part four, considering that Third Ear followed up Detroit Beatdown in 2008. This set's subtitle must be in reference to the label's previous Detroit compilation, since the city -- its unsung musicians especially -- never went away. It gets off to a proper start with a warm and organic groove from Craig Huckaby, whose percussion and voice have enhanced tracks released by the likes of Tony Ollivierra, Malik Alston, and Theo Parrish. Most of the other cuts from artists who didn't appear on the 2005 set help illustrate the depth of Detroit talent. Patrice Scott, a producer who could never get too much acclaim, lends "Cosmic Rituals," one of his many low-key but heady house/techno hybrids. The versatile Reggie Dokes chips in with a robust nod to the European synth-pop embraced by Detroit youth in the early '80s. Other vets, such as Marcellus Pittman, Rick Wilhite, Keith Worthy, and Delano Smith, return with appealingly deep contributions. While there are no big names here -- nothing comes from Kenny "Moodymann" Dixon, Jr., Theo Parrish, or even Andrés or Anthony "Shake" Shakir -- this is another vibrant documentation of the city's underground dance music.

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