Reviews: Carl Craig DJs


Shake: Mood Music for the Moody


"Mood Swing"
[48k RealAudio]

Anthony Shakir certainly has a way with titles. Tracing back to "My Name is Binky" on his Metroplex EP to this recent coded phrase for Detroit Techno, "Shake" could certainly hold his own against Richard James and Mike Paradinas in a track-naming contest ... though I'm partial to James' "Ventolin" ... but I digress (silly rabbit, segue-ways are for kids!).

Shake's latest may not sound like the traditional 4/4 + strings "moody music" of old, but it bridges the gap between Detroit's techno and hip-hop communities in an odd way. Whether his take on the instrumental trend in hip-hop will inspire other such creations has yet to be seen, but Mood Music for the Moody at least proves a starting point with its 5 tracks.

"Mood Swing" sets the tone for the EP with a variant of dark electro: A dulled, extended bass drop combines with chords and terse guitar notes and underlines the funky, yet deadly serious mood. "Here, There & Nowhere" (Ribbing Lennon & McCartney are we?) picks up after the instrumental version of "Mood Swing," its wasp-like melodies and sampled jazz fusion showcasing Shake's production prowess and is quite possibly the "moodiest" track of the lot.

The B-Side offers other contemplative sounds, such as the majestic and futuristic "Electron Rider," tapering a vocal sample to great effect. Sampling also finds its way into "Madmen," an entirely different species of drum & bass that I'd love to hear more of. Shake seems to chop up one break in different combinations and then pairs it with urgent electronic wailing and a less-than-subsonic bassline that is a refreshing change from the "speaker-killer" variety. Shifting from techno roots to hip-hop swing and beyond, Mood Music is a truly exceptional EP, and represents the soul of Detroit in entirely new ways. -DS

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