Andrés

Andrés

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Downtempo house producer and percussionist Andrés has maintained a shadowy profile -- even by Detroit standards -- since his 1997 debut for Kenny "Moodymann" Dixon Jr.'s KDJ label. Between that initial 12" release and this quasi-anthology, a handful of platters were issued and quickly gobbled up by those with a love for gritty house tracks that work equally well at backyard barbecues and late-night basement parties, as well as in avenue-prowling vehicles. It's no shocker that the closest parallel one can draw is to Dixon, specifically thanks to the mentor's straight-up beat-driven 12" for Soul City. While Dixon's eclectic work has taken on a number of approaches, Andrés' tracks have maintained a rigidly consistent focus on moving bodies with a sense of directness that is always imbued with considerable doses of funk and hip-hop -- and, as is the case with much of Dixon's material, vocal samples from obscure sources frequently play a significant role. Released on Mahogani Music (another KDJ venture), this self-titled disc provokes a minor gripe in that it's just under 40 minutes in duration. This hardly seems justifiable from a name that's been responsible for well over an hour of solid vinyl-only material. Despite this, the manner in which the tracks are stitched together to form a flowing whole -- similar to Moodymann's past-reflecting CD releases, with self-sampling bits and slight adjustments cunningly drizzled throughout -- make those who are familiar with the tracks feel as if they're hearing them for the first time. The album maintains a measured sense of momentum all the way through, with only one cut exceeding five minutes in length. Even "Material World" is cut down to three minutes, which isn't a problem when something equally hot is trailing it. The disc touches upon the earliest releases, includes the A-side from his Moods & Grooves 12", and the whole thing goes down with a laid-back intensity that few house producers can sustain. If this doesn't put a cap on the producer's status as one of house music's elite, nothing will.

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