Motor City Drum Ensemble

Raw Cuts, Vol. 1

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To say that Danilo Plessow, the man behind the Motor City Drum Ensemble moniker, loves both classic Detroit techno and the earlier soul and funk sounds of the metropolis that inspired his project name is to understate. Over two decades after techno in particular first won over passionate fans and advocates in Europe, newer generations continue to find ways to interpret the approaches made familiar by Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and more, and the collection of singles making up Raw Cuts, Vol. 1 doesn't try and hide it. The crackle of vinyl and swirl of soul and funk vocal samples provides the other anchor for Plessow's work throughout the collection, and more than once, it seems his role model might be less Transmat and more Solar Records out in L.A., if celebratory, bright-sounding songs like "Raw Cuts #2" are any indication. Three songs are exclusive to the album; the standout, "Prayer," lets Plessow explore a more downtempo/deep house turn to lovely effect. On the whole, nothing quite reinvents the wheel on Raw Cuts, Vol. 1, but as an enthusiastic and listenable labor of love, it's a treat.

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