Wuddaji by Theo Parrish, released by Sound Signature in 2020.
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Nothing about this should work. At any given moment it feels like the whole thing could fall to pieces. So let's start by just appreciating the fact that this music not only does manage to hang together, but that it grooves.
Take, for example, this song's main loop, a jazzy, jittering melody played on electric piano. The phrase has a clear enough hook, but surrounding this hook is a tempest of other notes that set the phrase off kilter, destabilizing it both harmonically and rhythmically, to the point that it almost sounds like it's glitching, on the verge of breaking down, before it recovers and returns to its recognizable refrain.
And that's just what's happening within the main loop. For surrounding it is a tempest of other sounds that further destabilize this loop yet somehow also simultaneously ground it. Undulating synths shimmer in and out of existence; a kick drum periodically pounds its way to a downbeat; a slap bass meanders across the low-end; and a layer of buzzy static sits on top of it all. Like a crackling fire, the song continuously bursts with energy while also always seeming on the brink of collapse.
Nothing about this should work. And yet, we groove along all the same. Naturally and automatically, our minds start to hum the glancing melody, our bodies start to move in step with the throbbing beat. It's uncanny, how easily we resonate with this music, though perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it's uncommon to hear dance music that possesses so much soul. The song breathes, heaves, pants, and wheezes. It's dancing with itself, as we dance along with it.
It's not just this one song, either. The entire record exists in this liminal state, standing right on the edge of harmonic and rhythmic cohesion, ever on the verge of toppling over but always just barely maintaining its balance. Each song is like a spiderweb or a ship in a bottle, an object that seems like it shouldn't be able to exist in this world, an intricate and delicate construction that appears to defy the natural laws to which we all are subject. To listen to this music is to marvel at all the different pieces suspended in time, moving together in an unlikely choreography to create something that feels utterly grounded and yet also seems to float on air.
I can only think to describe this music as magic. And like magic, its aim is to entrance — to command our entire attention, and yet ever elude its grasp. But like magic, the point is not to figure out how it works its trick, but simply to go along with its sleight of hand, to exist for a moment in this state of wonder, to immerse ourselves in this impossible world, and to temporarily feel as weightless as this music itself.