Despite turning in a few of the most distinctive, underrated productions in the history of Detroit techno, James Pennington's Suburban Knight project hasn't been blessed with the promotional weight of his many compatriots. In fact, his first release for a widely distributed label (comparatively), 15 years after his breakout with the menacing classic "The Art of Stalking," was this LP for Britain's Peacefrog. Like the Drexciya project Elecktroids, Pennington is a perfect candidate for overseas audiences (to say nothing of the thousands of American fans prompting his recordings to get shipped back stateside). Moody and dark, favoring simple yet effective minor chords and a futurist's sense of urban melancholy, Suburban Knight productions were a big influence on British IDM figures like Black Dog and B12. And even for those expecting mountains to move for this debut album, My Sol Dark Direction doesn't disappoint at all; it's easily one of the best darkside Detroit records since Stacey Pullen's The Theory of Silent Phase or Carl Craig's Landcruising. Balancing past classics ("The Art of Stalking," "Nocturbulous Behaviour") with crucial new material ("Collaboration Alpha," "Shape Shifter"), Suburban Knight comes across as a less-polemical Underground Resistance or an electrofied Moodymann, looking into the future instead of back in time. Here's hoping his next full-length drops in less than a decade.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush