Danilo Plessow, the 26-year-old Stuttgart resident behind Motor City Drum Ensemble, is one of the rare fusion-influenced dance music producers whose records don’t disappear into noodly cosmic nonsense. Plessow has an affinity for the deeper, jazzier sounds of Chicago and Detroit techno and house and their influences, anchoring his MCDE with powerful disco- and hip-hop-influenced rhythms. MCDE’s contribution to the venerable DJ-Kicks series is no different: The astral-plane jazz vibe of artists like Peven Everett, Recloose and Finnish sax player Timo Lassy is simply texture at the service of the immaculately crafted groove that runs down the spine of this often breathtaking mix.
The groove is not simply a banging 4/4, though; it begins as a spectral haze (a stunning opening passage that encompasses a Sun Ra chant, Rhythm & Sound’s ghostly reggae and Tony Allen’s Afrobeat classic “Ariya”) that slowly builds in momentum through vintage house and disco (Mr. Fingers and the instrumental dub of Stone’s “Girl I Like The Way That You Move”) to a pulsating peak comprised of a brilliant blend Robert Hood’s jacking “The Pace”, Arthur Russell’s superlatively weird “Pop Your Funk” and disco pioneer Walter Gibbons’s juju mix of Arts & Crafts’ “I’ve Been Searching.” Inventive, broad-minded, precision-tooled and simply exquisite, this will rival Pearson Sound and Ramadanman’s Fabric set as the dance music mix of the year.