It’s time is coming. Sooner or later (and it will probably be sooner), the masses are going to discover the best house label in Detroit and we’re all going to get pissy about how people always ruin a good thing and how much more their records cost.
That label is Moods & Grooves, Mike Grant’s label, which has been in business since the last year of the last millennium and – get this – has never missed on a record yet. Go through them: Alton Miller, Brian Harden, Rick Wade, Moodymann, Mr. G, Anthony “Shake” Shakir, Theo Parrish, Andres… it’s like a festival fantasy line-up that even Movement can’t book and somehow Mike Grant got some of the best producers who ever did this thing to do their best work for Moods & Grooves. There are gaps of whole years between releases, which is to be expected when resident record mogul has a demanding day job in the army (one record, Mike Grant once told me, was released when he was in Texas and about to be deployed to Iraq.)
But you know what’s really cool? This is a label that has never stopped taking chances. It’s not hard to throw some money at big names and get records from them. In fact, some kid with money does exactly that every year with a flash-in-the-pan label. It’s harder to keep that record of excellence going when you’re picking up records from guys with 55 followers on SoundCloud and who have been releasing music for just a couple of years – when you’re out there giving a chance to young artists who bring nothing but talent to the table.
That’s the case with “LoopZ The Maestro,” the alias of a young producer from Cape Town, South Africa who signed his latest release, Shallow Dreams, to Moods & Grooves. “What A Life” has the swagger and tasteful restraint of a producer from the old school. LoopZ builds a track with just fragments of sounds: some birdsong, a few blazing notes from a disembodied sax and a vocal sample sounding off with just a few notes. It strikes the perfect balance on the axis where soulful and deep house meet. Other tracks pull their weight in one direction or another – the jazzy deepness of “Traveler,” the muted Afro dubs of “Dusk.” None are quite as effective as the opener but all are effective in their own lane.
This may not be the track that makes Moods & Grooves – after 20 years – the rider on the next big hype bubble from RA, but it will certain reach new audiences that had possibly never taken notice of a label that rarely hypes itself. They just quietly go on doing exactly what great labels should do for themselves, their cities and the underground.
LoopZ The Maestro: Shallow Dreams / Moods & Grooves
A1: LoopZ The Maestro: What A Life
A2: LoopZ The Maestro: Traveller
B1: LoopZ The Maestro: Dusk
B2: LoopZ The Maestro: Love’s Thoughts