Tall Black Guy

8 Miles to Moenart

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Terrel Wallace has been on a steady rise for several years. Since 2007, he won Chicago's Red Bull Big Tune beat battle, crafted bold and gorgeous remakes of classics by Fela Kuti, the Jones Girls, and Al Green, and recorded with Dee Jackson (as Eighties Babies) and with the Primeridian. He also produced the final two cuts on Skyzoo's A Dream Deferred and remixed Zo!'s "This Could Be the Night." That doesn't cover it all. While he has relocated to England, his hometown of Detroit remains close to his heart, as demonstrated on 8 Miles to Moenart -- 8 Mile being the city's north border, where east-side street Moenart ends. Throughout, Wallace serves up uncomplicated yet finely detailed variations of his specialty: primarily coasting, sample-laced productions with stirring atmospheric touches. MC Ozay Moore guests on "Mon Amie De'troit" and adds a personal touch to the album, which features frequent and artistic use of Detroit documentary and news report sound bites. Diggs Duke, who is from another hard-hit Midwest industrial town (Gary, Indiana), joins on "There's No More Soul," adding a wordless melody that is pained but gently uplifting. Otherwise, it's just Wallace, who drops harder beats on "The Dark Streets" -- where jazz, funk, house, and hip-hop are indivisible -- and on "The Motor Is Running," the set's most moving and cinematic track. A modest 40-minute album, 8 Miles to Moenart nonetheless conveys an assortment of emotions and prompts repeat beginning-to-end play.

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