Soul Center

Soul Center

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AllMusic Review by

Thomas Brinkmann has said that, while fellow producers and peers Mike Ink and Richie Hawtin have their hearts stuck in the '80s, his own is somewhere in the '70s. Out of all of Brinkmann's releases and concepts, nothing demonstrates that notion more than Soul Center. A cryptic list of acknowledgements accompanies the track listing, giving respect to some apparent sampling sources, most of which are Detroit-based. The Temptations, the Four Tops, Martha Reeves, and even the Undisputed Truth are listed, as are influences like techno producers Shake, Claude Young, and Dan Bell. One might describe the record as a skeletal, crisp, head-on collision between minimal techno and '70s funk and soul. And it's not as if this merely has its sights aimed on Detroit, either. The Staple Singers are heard here and there, and only Brinkmann could tell you exactly where everything originates. Often, he comes up with his own stiff rhythms and adds vocal snippets -- sometimes one word and sometimes only a grunt -- as well as manipulated shards of percussion. "Ain't No" is the most mesmerizing of this bunch; completely free of a bassline for most of its duration, the track is a tornadic sculpture of circular swirls of percussion and handclaps, with minute guitar flicks placed ever so perfectly. "Let's Go," featuring a number of vocal samples, actually has more in common with '80s electro than anything else. Regardless, it's just as thrilling as every other track. [Note: The cover of the first Soul Center displays a pair of couches.]

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