v/a: MARBLE BAR – PANDEMANIA RELIEF (AN EMPLOYEE BENEFIT COMPILATION) (Marble Wax2Max, 2020)

January 16, 2021 at 3:33 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: MARBLE BAR – PANDEMANIA RELIEF (AN EMPLOYEE BENEFIT COMPILATION)

Marble Bar quickly became one of Detroit’s best venues for dance music after it opened in 2015. I can’t even count how many amazing DJs and performers I’ve seen there: Jeff Mills, Tony Allen, Josey Rebelle, Lone, LTJ Bukem, Titonton Duvanté, AceMo, Color Plus… it’s just the place to be whenever something’s happening there. Of course the venue has been closed since the pandemic started, so they’ve started a label and released an employee benefit compilation featuring dozens of artists, from Detroit and abroad, who have played there. Much of it is techno or house, of course, but there’s a few tracks from other genres. Luke Vibert dons his Amen Andrews moniker for the Jetsons-sampling “riotously rhapsodic rhythms”, which is an absolute blockbuster, like most of his jungle material. I missed him the last time he played at the bar because my car was about to die and I had to drive home and get it repaired the next day. Tracks by hometown legends like Andrés, DJ Minx, Hotwaxx Hale, and Terrence Parker are Detroit house at its most sublime. Anja Schneider’s “Hometown” brings the dark tunnel rave vibes, and producers like DJ T-1000 and Norm Talley similarly get down to business. Ataxia and Mister Joshooa sample Q-Tip’s guest appearance on the Beastie Boys’ “Get It Together” for a cheeky breakbeat funk track. The Brian Kage track is a bit more hands-in-the-air. Chuck Daniels’ “Traffic” turns blaring car horns into techno sirens. Ellen Allien’s “Gender Fluid” is one of the hardest tracks she’s made since the ’90s. Juju & Jordash bring a taste of their live performances with the astoundingly gorgeous “de school”. Rebecca Goldberg’s track is rougher, tenser, and more on edge, and Terrence Dixon works in somewhat of an “Art of Stalking” mode but glances toward another galaxy. Oh, and the indispensable Todd Osborn closes out the track listing. This album isn’t quite a substitute for dancing under a revolving mirrorball skull in an extended boxcar tent, but it’s a great way to support Detroit’s own mini-Fabric, and it’s an excellent stash of fresh tracks for any stuck-at-home DJ.

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