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Rotating Assembly


Natural Aspirations


Sound Signature


Rotating Assembly CD coverThe Rotating Assembly is a loose collective of musicians and singers all under the guidance of Theo Parrish released on his Sound Signature label. Natural Aspirations is only one of many releases (cd, cd-r, and 12 inch) that Theo has released this year. There's a more open ended sound on this disc then a typical Theo project thanks to the collaborative effort, but the whole disc still retains the genius exploration that is instilled in a Theo Parrish release. I think this disc would appeal to more people than most Theo releases because of the heavy use of vocalists and the live feel that permeates the whole thing: it truly is full of natural inspirations.

The singers we hear on Natural Aspirations give us a rough guide to the sounds heard here. Genevieve Marentette (who's also known for recording with Recloose who have been featured on !K7, Eskimo Recordings, WMF, Peacefrog, Mole Listening Pearls, and Cocoon Recordings compilations ) is definitely the best of the bunch and is heard on 3 of the finest cuts including the set opening Mess I Made, Split Me Open, and Ascension. She has a bachelor degree of music in jazz voice and has been singing since she was 5, so she definitely has the pipes to fill a Theo Parrish song.

The 9 piece deep funk collective King Sunshine provides the essential loose groove which helps make these tracks the oblique masterpieces they are - a la the spacejams of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis from the early 1970s. Genevieve Marentette lets loose her inner demons with laidback and soulful pleas as the grooves come and go Theo Parrish style. He's able to get that live feel thanks to using an actual band on these tracks.

Maat Lo is heard singing on Naturally and Illumination and is given a harder job as each of these tracks have a deeper lost Theo Parrish vibe than Marentette's tracks with denser rhythm tracks for Warren Harris and Marcellus Pittman to work off. Naturally has the weed out the weaklings thing going that Theo is so well known for; Illumination is definitely the lighter groove of the two. For those who like the imagine what Marvin Gaye might have sounded like if he were still alive and recording in Detroit could do worse than check out these two tracks.

Karen Bosco sings on Take Me and Melt. Take Me is one of the moments when the vibe doesn't work as well as usual, but Melt is a 10 and half minute Theo Parrish masterpiece and well worth checking out the end of the disc for (it's the last track) as it will definitely make a Theo fan melt. It's got the signature string sound, pulsing samples, rhythms and sub-bass which come and go seemingly at will and a disembodied vocal performance which reaches deep into the fold by Karen Bosco.

Of the instrumental tracks - The Stomp, Kings Dance, and Orchestra Hall - The Stomp and Kings Dance both have the live band sound. The Stomp sounds like it could've fit onto Theo Parrish's First Floor disc (a loose funk jam with lots of guitar wah wah by P-Funk All Stars member Duminie DePorres; and John Douglas playing wonderful echoed trumpet). Kings Dance is a short 1 minute and half extension of King Sunshine music.

Orchestra Hall is the real reason anyone should pick up this disc because it is by far one of Theo Parrish's best tracks ever. Combining together a paranoid rhythm with layers of strings and the minimal sub bass that rocks the foundation, Orchestra Hall ebbs and flows as it defies categorization and is the masterpiece we knew Theo Parrish had in him.

---Patrick, August 31, 2004