Silence In The Secret Garden

Silence In The Secret Garden

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Moodymann

Album: Silence In The Secret Garden
Label: Peacefrog
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Album: False
Label: Plus 8

A shady figure whose elusiveness suits his style, Moodymann makes house music that goes from beginning to end like a rumor moving through a room. He's not alone as a publicity-shy dance raconteur, but apart from fellow Detroiter Theo Parrish, Moodymann pretty much owns the impressionistic house mode he's smeared across melty grooves since the mid-'90s. His new Silence In the Secret Garden plays a standard house hand–soulful diva coos, mellow rhythms in finger-snap time, warm coats of jazz–but its feverish spread makes for a cumulative effect that works wonders in album form. Moodymann's delicate, disorienting production touch shows in subtle ways, from the gentle volume shifts in the piano-horn moaner "Entrance 2 The Garden" to the menacing saunter of "LIVEINLA 1998" to the hide-and-seek bangs laced throughout "Yesterdays Party Watta Bout It." Silence In The Secret Garden dabbles in equal spells of hard and soft house, but the fast and slow parts coalesce in a shared soundfield warped by a mix of glinting sunshine and black-light glow. Under his alias False, fellow Detroit producer Matthew Dear takes Moodymann's horizontal moves and resets them on a vertical axis, where song-shifts morph into nervy, crooked micro-funk. Frantic and crisp to the point of delirium, False's self-titled debut opens with one of the roundest bass throbs ever made ("Flack") and builds through a shivering distillation of techno thump. On highlights like "Beginner's Luck," minimal beat gasps circle around quantum maraca shakes that sound small but hit big. "Good Adder" evokes a coked-up Morse Code tapper, while ".Wav Pool" draws machine hum through a watery ripple bath. With a heady mix of vocal tics and diced burble, False calls to mind the hectic, real-time wiggle of Matthew Herbert as he lords over tracks like a puppeteer jiggling his strings. Hardly a bar goes by without a crafty tweak: a pull on the bassline, a tug on the snare sound, a stop-time freeze and a nudge to let the groove right itself. The result is a brilliant minimal-techno album that flees loop-fueled repetition for something that oozes personality even as math serves the score.