With all due respect, Norm Talley, this is getting a little out of hand. Having released some rarities from Omar S. & Moodymann and some tracks from his own portfolio, Talley assigned Upstairs Asylum the job of compiling a V/A collection for the label and they’ve built this monster. Any imprint would be satisfied having a single track from Jon Dixon, Darrin Abrams, Rick Wade, Mike Clark, Kai Alcé, Kyle Hall, Eddie Fowlkes and Santonio Echols. Now put all 8 together on one 2×12″ collection and you could run to the press with the alternative title of “The Best of Detroit Past, Present & Future” and it wouldn’t be wrong. But “Unity” is more humble and to the point.
Talley’s brought together not just 8 of the best producers in Detroit but they brought some of their best work to Upstairs Asylum. Jon Dixon drops the irresistibly deep and fuzzyheaded “Riverside Drive” to lead it off, which sets the table for the dubby, spacey sound of Abrams’ “Detroit Ur My Star.” Rick Wade really gets a groove going on “Terrific D,” with its sophisticated bassline and chords that tickle like a swig of champagne that goes right to your nose. Mike Clark is Detroit’s unsung hero of the moment, and he doesn’t disappoint. He never does.
The second 12″ features the tropical jazz guitar of Kai Alcé’s “Morning” followed by a mental, stretched out deep cut from Kyle Hall called “Pico.” Two of the elder statesmen are represented on the final flipside with Eddie Fowlkes’ “Hold Me Down” and the crazy alien jukebox techno jazz of Santonio Echols’ “Visionary.” Norm Talley must have twisted every arm in Detroit to put this thing together — a tribute to a city and its artists who are unrelenting in pushing their individual visions and their collective dreams.
V/A: Unity Vol 1 (Upstairs Asylum / August 2021 / 12″ Vinyl)
A1. Jon Dixon – “Riverside Drive” (5:42)
A2. Darren Abrams – “Detroit Ur My Star” (5:11)
B1. Rick Wade – “Terrific D” (5:56)
B2. Mike Clark – “In My Arms” (5:53)
C1. Kai Alce – “Morning” (7:06)
C2. Kyle Hall – “Pico” (6:14)
D1. Eddie Fowlkes – “Hold Me Down” (6:22)
D2. Santonio Echols – “Visionary” (5:30)
⚪️ Disclosure Statement: This record was not submitted as a promo.