- Dance music from Detroit is nothing if not varied. The city's techno—in all its driving, retro-futuristic glory—may get the lion's share of the coverage, but it hardly paints the full picture. Rick Wilhite has connected the city's disparate musical styles—fast and slow, hard and groovy, traditionalist and far-out—as well as anyone. And his Vibes series for Rush Hour has proven especially adept at bringing together sounds for listeners who might not be used to hearing them that way. The series, named in honor of Wilhite's hometown record shop, recently relaunched and cast the net wider, drawing in tunes from Chicago and New York as well as Detroit.
Of the two vinyl doublepacks that comprise Vibes 2, the second features bigger names and is altogether stronger. It's almost unfair to have Moodymann lead off, and "Momma"—with a Silence In The Secret Garden-reminiscent shuffle and deliriously light touch—is the envy of the collection. It's not exactly down hill from there, though. DJ Stingray contributes spacious, nocturnal electro—hardly a surprise, but he's peerless when making the stuff, and the track doesn't disappoint. Orlando Voorn stuffs squishy synths, an expansive bassline, beeps, bloops and what could be three drum kits onto his D-side cut, and it still sounds perfectly spacious and groovy. K. Alexi Shelby's "Head Banger" makes good on its title, pairing an endless Los Hermanos-style roll with a Chicago-nodding acid bassline. Underground Resistance keyboardist Gerald Mitchell brings the sort of no-bells-and-whistles musicianship to his speedy house track that you rarely find outside of Detroit, and it makes one of the compilation's least showy tracks into something special nevertheless.
Wilhite doesn't appear solo here, but he does pop up on a pair of tracks with the compilation's lesser-knowns. They make for highlights—though they're the set's darkest tunes. His remix of Sean Tate's "A Matter Of Honor"—part of a series of recent tracks with similar titles, one of which appeared on the first Vibes 2 release—is slamming, minimalist techno with a psychedelic streak. Amid the throb, delays multiply and smear the beat, and it's the track's only color save some sinister strings that flit in near the end. A collaboration with the low-key Calvin Morgan, "Memories Anaila," is nearly as monochrome—a twisting bassline and clanging drums fight off a melodic loop that threatens to push the tune beyond a dirge. On paper, it's grimy, L.I.E.S.-style techno, but to my ears it's the sound of Vibes 2's varied impulses coming together.
A1 Moodymann - Momma
A2 Sean Tate - A Matter Of Honor (Wilhite Remix)
B1 Los Hermanos - It's The Future
B2 DJ Stingray - Temporary Bond
C1 TJ Dumas & Raybone Jones - Runnin 2 U
C2 Rick & Calvin - Memories Analia
D1 Orlando Voorn - The Recipe
D2 K-Alexi - Head Banger