The Detroit house hero drops his first solo record in five years.
"Sonar Funk" is a clever audio collage. There's magic in the way Wilhite's sampler loops interact and the almost mathematical way the groove redistributes through this process of addition and subtraction. It will be fun to mix, given the hard emphasis on the down beat and the twitchy syncopation that makes it feel like it's always hurrying to catch up.
There's also an alternate mix of Moodymann's 2007 track "Technologystolemyvinyle." The original version builds from a live funk jam (with Amp Fiddler on keys) into a fully quantized jazz-house bomb. But Wilhite flips the script, starting things off in banger mode and closing out with a loose jam session, as though the track is disintegrating.
The only track that falls short is his edit of Sylvester Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black," a bluesy lament that Moodymann also sampled on his 2004 bootleg "I'm Doing Fine." The beat is less imaginative than the drums on the rest of the release and the vocal sample sounds oddly detuned next to the other melodic loop. The other three cuts are rough in all the right places, but this edit doesn't quite nail the balance of dissonance and harmony that animates Wilhite's best work.