Theo Parrish

Parallel Dimensions [Sound Signature Vinyl]

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Parallel Dimensions, Theo Parrish's first full-length of mostly new material, isn't really much different from the sort of mid-tempo abstract house tracks he'd been releasing on a series of late-'90s 12" EPs via his Sound Signature label. And that's a good thing -- nothing at all to lament. Much like his similarly shadowy Detroit house colleague Kenny Dixon, Jr. (aka Moodymann), Parrish specialized in EPs during the late '90s, hard-to-find slabs of vinyl that were always surprises -- abstract house workouts unlike anything else out there, and thus the objects of a feverish cult following. Parallel Dimensions is the same, except full-length: available in both CD or double-12" vinyl, with slight differences in the respective track listings. (The vinyl edition includes only five tracks, two of them, "Dreamer's Blues" and "What U Cry 4," not available on the nine-track CD edition.) Tracks like "Nefarious Stranger" and "Serengeti Echoes" rumble and amble along for ten minutes or so each as Parrish slowly tweaks his tweaked-out productions all the while. More suitable to late-night opium dens than peak-hour dancefloors, this collection of music is damn deep, a bit too out-there for your little sister and other casual dance music listeners. But if you're keen to track down some truly creative house music that sounds like it indeed could be the soundtrack for a parallel dimension, look no further. This is it. That said, Parrish's style of house isn't just abstract for the sake of being abstract. It's actually quite musical and brilliantly crafted. It's just that the guy is a mad genius and specializes in so-called "drunken drum" rhythms that creep up on you and leave you feeling wonderfully wobbly once you surrender yourself to the groove. So if all those Sound Signature EPs always leave you hungry for more, Parallel Dimensions is a hearty serving of that same vibe, if not even a bit deeper and more hypnotic than usual. Finding yourself a copy could be an issue though. Initially released in 2000 by Parrish himself, the album went out of print quickly. Thankfully, Ubiquity reissued the album in 2004 and graced the world with bountiful distribution, as well as improved sound quality, so look for that edition.

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