Coming off a successful transatlantic exchange, Brian Kage and his Michigander label keep the momentum, and the collaborative spirit, moving with an EP that hits closer to home. For any Detroit artist, working with Delano Smith would be on the bucket list, as one of the city’s original, more influential DJs — before the D developed any of its “waves” — who would come into his own as a producer later to, once again, help mold the Techno City’s sound. Make no mistakes about it, this tastemaker had a ripple effect back before techno even had a name, when it was just “progressive” music and mixing. The thing is, the feeling of admiration and respect here is mutual, from the moment Smith first stumbled across one of Kage’s records and had to know who was making these sounds. This meeting of the minds happened organically and timely, with Keep ’em Movin’ as the result.
Opening the release is the title track, a driving number with pulsating synth tones and deep, call and response piano stabs. The ever so slightly pitched down vocals are modern and effortlessly cool, a style that resonates with today’s dancefloors, but done tastefully, and with lyrical content that sets the record straight about what it really means to represent Detroit.
“D Spirit” takes an ancestral turn. This is spaced-out Detroit techno meets afro deep at its finest. Forward moving keys are bathed in deep, celestial pads as shuffling hats accented by light hand percussion beckon the body to move. Lively marimbas cut through the hypnotic undertones and awaken the senses with soulful appeal. A fluid bassline rumbles beneath while baroque pianos add tension and heighten the atmosphere.
The final track rounds the release out with an exclamation mark. For lovers of Delano Smith’s infamous remix of “A Message for the DJ,” “For the Music” will feel instantly familiar, if not almost its closely related deeper, distant cousin. Many will recognize its meditative musings, but here it’s been re-contextualized into some true school, bumping, real-deal, dynamic Detroit shit.
Keep ‘Em Movin – 6:03
D-Spirit – 6:05
For The Music- 7:42