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Theo Parrish

Biography

A legend even within a city of legends, Theo Parrish wasn't one of Detroit's "first wave" of electronic-music producers, but he has created a sound as distinctive as any of his citymates', as well as a musical philosophy that reaches far beyond the norms of techno -- Detroit or otherwise. Born in 1972, Parrish began releasing soulful, minimalistic techno and house in the mid-'90s for labels like Moodymann's KDJ and Parrish's own Sound Signature. Folding long, sinewy strands of soul and jazz together with synths and drum machines, Parrish builds evolving grooves that span decades and shun labels. His eclectic DJ sets are as celebrated as his records, and you can hear his unconventional approach -- part collagist, part virtuoso -- in every off-kilter beat and unlikely chord of his productions. (As his tribute to Sun Ra attests, Parrish has an uncommon empathy for outsiders and visionaries.) Woozy, hypnotic and wonderfully tarnished, Theo Parrish's music can thrill and confound in equal measure -- which is precisely what makes its soul run so deep.

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