- It was twelve years ago, but I still remember Moodymann yelling at me between tracks on Silentintroduction: "And I'm damned sure not talkin' about motherfuckers from the suburbs, I'm talkin' about niggas from the D . . . so don't be misled." I lived a few miles north of Detroit at the time and the faceless and diffuse qualities that made techno so appealing suddenly became very specifically defined. It may have been difficult for white kids from the suburbs to hear that electronic music was black and proud and lived south of Eight Mile Road, but it was a necessary reminder. Moodymann's persona has always been defined by the incongruity of the moment when his militant ranting seamlessly dropped into "I Can't Kick This Feeling When It Hits," one of the happiest and most infectious tracks of the '90s. Definitely moody—and today he's just plain Moody, lopping off the "mann" for reasons known only to him.
An extension of the looser sound from last year's Det.riot '67 and offering new mixes of a few previously released tracks, Anotha Black Sunday opens with several bursts of goofy bass-plucking jazz that sounds like the interstitial for a program on the BBC or National Public Radio. And in his own way, Moody takes us into Ira Glass or Studs Terkel territory as "Mama's Hand" sweeps through Detroit's churches, jazz clubs and dead-end bars. Gospel singers howl, feet stomp and a smoky female vocal rises near the end, singing about how she's being driven crazy before drifting into a drunken man's ramble about his next drink and how good he's feeling.
Just shy of three minutes, "…During Soundcheck" rides the line between a disposable interlude and a variation on his jazz-tinged classics like "Mahogany Brown" and "U Got Me Blunted Up." The EP's title track is the vocal equivalent: less than two minutes of preaching and crooning across some bare percussion. Moody's strength has always been his ability to work a vocal sample to death until it carves a deep groove in your head. "Desire" does this, as Jose James' vocals wrap around a piano-laden beat that occasionally flirts with adult contemporary chintz, but Moody keeps the vocals playing a fascinating game of cat and mouse with the rhythm. Like it or not, the chorus of "Remember . . . yeah" will be stuck in your ears for days. "Rectify" brings more of the same smoky lounge weather. The vocals are bit more subdued, but the freeform cycle of different singers, instruments and textures continues. Taken as a whole, Anotha Black Sunday is one big track; the track markers and titles are almost incidental.
There are some classic Moodymann moments here and there's also something new, as Moody continues to move further away from proper dance floor tracks in favor of looser soundtracks. It's the audio equivalent of that classic Martin Scorsese tracking shot through the alleyway, into the kitchen, past the bar and out into the restaurant where the floorshow is about to begin. Perhaps this is why the "mann" is gone: Moody's now an omniscient observer rather than an angry lecturer. And twelve years later, his voice is just as essential.
A1 Mamma's Hand
A2 ...During Soundcheck
A3 Anotha Black Sunday