The artists of the Detroit Musicians Alliance (DMA) coalesced their artistic visions and built up a regional musician organization on the side. This compilation opens with "Detroit," a song by Skinhorse that seems, in its theme, to be written for inclusion. Skinhorse offers a potent potion in their mix. Other highlights include Spat!, who offers "Further," an excellent, anthemic rock song that seems ready for radio. It is a great song and vocalist Deb Toscano gets to show her pipes.. Brooke Ratliff's Motion Control puts an ancient Hindu prayer to music in "Gayathri." This is an excellent example of her vision; incorporating exotic cultural influences into dreamy pop-lite. With the Process the message seems to cut out ahead of the medium and through a smoky haze. Their reggae rock would go over better if half the lyrics were excised. Other than that, "Jah Made the Herb" is a good subtropical vacation midway through the CD. Cindi St. Germain represents the performance poet scene in a charged and confrontational reading of her "Closer to Demon Dreams." Twitch tosses in one of their best cuts off their At Last CD, titled "Sweet." Their avant-funk weirdness never grows old. The Luddites' "Happy Birthday" is an acoustic psychodrama about the maturation frustration. Terry Gonda's "Lines on My Finger" is a highly developed, mature folk statement. She seems in a league of her own and far beyond many of her DMA associates in terms of artistic growth. The closing cut, "I Want You" from Cyber Tribe, makes a nice bookend compared to the similarly industrial Skinhorse that opened. Motor CD is an excellent document of the activist-musicians in Detroit and where they are at the turn of the century. The styles are obviously too diverse to lend much cohesion to the whole, but the production is above average and even, and each track seems to stand well as a representative of the group's style and capabilities.
Motor CD: United We Jam, Vol. 3 Review
by Tom Schulte