Universal Playground’s album of the week 50 – 2020 is Theo Parrish – Wuddaji

Detroit resident Theo Parrish is equally revered for his intense, genre-spanning DJ sets, his unconventional yet deeply soulful house productions, and his crucial Sound Signature record label. Directly inspired by pioneering Chicago house DJs such as Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles, his loud, EQ-busy club sets focus on timeless music rather than the latest trends, exuberantly mixing classics and obscurities from disco, jazz, and soul to new wave and house, generally played off crackly old vinyl. His early releases, such as 1998 debut full-length First Floor weaved these influences into slow-burning, immersive grooves that gradually reveal deeper levels of detail the longer one listens. From there, his music became more elaborate and ambitious, from his work with collaborative projects 3 Chairs and the Rotating Assembly collective to expansive solo full-lengths like 2014’s American Intelligence and 2020’s Wuddaji, based on live playing rather than samples.