Theo Parrish ‎– Levels

Sound Signature ‎– SS23/C&D
Vinyl, 12", 33 ⅓ RPM


C1 Levels 6:56
C2 Dreamers Blues (In The Thick Mix) 5:41
D Shifting Sands 10:08

Companies, etc.


"Levels" features a line from the Quentin Tarantino movie "Jackie Brown", spoken by Samuel L. Jackson.

Track durations and BPM are not provided on the record.
C1: 110 | C2: 116
D: 120

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout: HOT WAXX GEO


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May 27, 2014
To me, Theo Parrish at his best


January 2, 2007
edited over 10 years ago

When I first heard this, it was safe to say I didn't know what to think. Now I still don't, but I don't think I will so that makes it okay to talk. The title track of the 12 on C1, "Levels", sounds kind of like a rather insane and somewhat sloppy DJ in the middle of a mix. The vocal loop on the top seems to have little to do with the clattering percussion that plods through the middle of the track, unchanging for the duration. This isn't too unusual for Parrish, but this one seems to somehow get bumpin' about halfway through, thanks to some ambient chords way in the background that circle and hover slowly and nice, subtle bass programming that inserts small changes here and there.
On a somewhat similar vein is also the D-side, "Shifting Sands". The sounds that Basic Channel, for instance, use, are often described as cavernous, and I think that that is probably about the only way of describing this as well. It's not the same cave though - close, perhaps it's the wierd, house-y one next door. The raison d'etre for the track seems to be the keyboard performance, which is mostly continuous but not exactly propulsive. It's complimented by a distinctly lo-fi low-end bump that gets plain nasty at times, and some more of that rattle-trap high percussion - where does he get these sounds? It seems as if everything is run through delay and reverb at one point or another, with the decaying high percussion being the most frequent target as it pings hard side-to-side in the PA and regularly peaks and fades thanks to the delay. Somehow, like a wheezing motor, the thing manages to keep going - it's actually kind of fast for a Parrish track.

Tucked right in between these two "Dreamer's Blues", a by-comparison conventional, minimal and danceable house track. You have to listen hard to know it was even by the same artist, and probably almost any house DJ could find something to like about the track. A nice, repetitive layer of ambient chords anchors most of the track, fading out only for the breakdown in the middle and then returning at the end. Over this some more slow, delayed keys resembling a melody but never quite getting enough material to make one, and under it some slowly bumping analogue-sounding bass. The percussion provides the main momentum here, gaining intensity until the breakdown in the middle and then slowly fading out with the track. Compared to the other two, it's so easy to listen to it glides by almost unnoticed.

With at least half of the single unplayable by any standards (it's even a bit difficult to listen to, and I like Parrish), it makes the release hard to recommend to anyone except his loyal following. You certainly can't fault the man for originality - there's no one else making stuff like this. Side 1 you'll find some way to sneak into a set... it's worth it just for that. Side 2 is strictly for personal enjoyment, though it may be good for scaring neighbours and roommates as well, but there's at least a 50-50 chance they just won't get it and will just fall asleep. It's a chance you'll have to take.