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Parallel Dimensions

Theo Parrish

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Album Review

Parallel Dimensions, Theo Parrish's first full-length of mostly new material, isn't really much different from the sort of midtempo abstract house tracks he'd been releasing on a series of late-'90s 12" EPs via his Sound Signature label. And that's a good thing — nothing at all to lament. Much like his similarly shadowy Detroit house colleague Kenny Dixon, Jr. (aka Moodymann), Parrish specialized in EPs during the late '90s, hard-to-find slabs of vinyl that were always surprises — abstract house workouts unlike anything else out there, and thus the objects of a feverish cult following. Parallel Dimensions is the same, except full-length: available in both CD or double-12" vinyl, with slight differences in the respective track listings. (The CD edition includes nine tracks, four more than the vinyl edition and some of them previously released on vinyl. Among these extra tracks is "Summertime Is Here," a beautiful, 12-minute soul-jazz slow jam. Two of the five inclusions on the vinyl edition are missing here on the CD: the especially eerie "Dreamer's Blues," and "What U Cry 4.") Tracks like "Nefarious Stranger" and "Serengeti Echoes" rumble and amble along for ten minutes or so each as Parrish slowly tweaks his tweaked-out productions all the while. More suitable to late-night opium dens than peak-hour dancefloors, this collection of music is damn deep, a bit too out-there for your little sister and other casual dance-music listeners. But if you're keen to track down some truly creative house music that sounds like it indeed could be the soundtrack for a parallel dimension, look no further. This is it. That said, Parrish's style of house isn't just abstract for the sake of being abstract. It's actually quite musical and brilliantly crafted. It's just that the guy is a mad genius and specializes in so-called "drunken drum" rhythms that creep up on you and leave you feeling wonderfully wobbly once you surrender yourself to the groove. So if all those Sound Signature EPs always leave you hungry for more, Parallel Dimensions is a hearty serving of that same vibe, if not even a bit deeper and more hypnotic than usual. Finding yourself a copy could be an issue though. Initially released in 2000 by Parrish himself, the album went out of print quickly. Thankfully, Ubiquity reissued the album in 2004 and graced the world with bountiful distribution, as well as improved sound quality, so look for that edition.


Born: 1972 in Washington, DC

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most progressive house producers and DJs of the late '90s, 2000s, and 2010s, Theo Parrish grew up in Chicago but moved to Detroit by the time of his late-1996 Baby Steps EP on 7th City subsidiary Elevate. From the EP, his Chicago tribute "Lake Shore Drive" later appeared on the Kenny Dixon/Moodymann release "Inspirations of a Small Black Church," and Parrish also worked on tracks by Rick Wilhite, Dewayne Davis and Norma Jean Bell. In 1997, he established his Sound Signature label, the...
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Parallel Dimensions, Theo Parrish
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