Out of everyone from the Siamese Twin cities of Chicago and Detroit (one has the heart, one has the brains, and I’ll let you decide which is which) that’s getting a little shine from overseas these days, Norm Talley is somebody that truly deserves it. We all know that guy who won’t stop spamming his mix in your inbox, and takes the unfortunate death of a disco legend as an opportunity to chuck another one into the ether (and by and large, it sounds like most of the others).
But Norm has something like four or five hundred mix tapes either sitting in some ex-raver’s attic or held in a treasured place over the mantle – regardless of reception, he made them just because he had to. Consider that the next time you’re chastened to “pay your dues”.
And Norm’s latest productions have been received as something like a revelation for people who love the traditional Detroit sound but have soured on the work of namebrand legends who appear to be rather bored by everything but collecting a paycheck.
Travlin is the second straight top release from Landed Records, and it’s every bit as solid as Moodymanc’s Father EP (with Rick Wade remixes) from late 2011. The title track is the highlight, featuring a sad, sonorous sax riff that stands back behind the stagelights for most of the song and steps back into the picture just enough to make its presence known. “ION” is the sort of track that you wish you heard more from the aforementioned namebrands – a piece of emotional techno with sweet synths over handclaps and what sounds like someone dropping a snare drum. And “Analog Dreams” is a postcard to the old school, with some magnetic tape noise dropping into the familiar but distorted and wrinkled Todd Terry “Weekend” sample (itself sampled from the Jimmy Castor Bunch). Even when Norm is making records, it’s like he’s making mixtapes.