SUNDAY | MAY 29
One of the foundation DJs of Detroit’s deep house scene, since 1982 Norm Talley helped to establish and cement the deep end of Detroit’s dance culture. An early understudy of deceased legend Ken Collier, Norm also early associated closely with Delano Smith, a bond that stands the test of time. Detroit’s house scene was slow to receive wider recognition, but this funky underbelly thrived throughout the ‘80s and helped birth later developments, techno included. Dubbed ‘progressive’ at the time, the fusion of P-Funk, Motown, soul, disco, electronic music like Kraftwerk, industrial and synth pop, and New Wave had, by the early 90s, separated into various distinct threads, the nascent house community amongst them.
Talley dropped his first releases in the late ‘90s on respected labels like Track Mode and Eddie Fowlkes’ City Boy, early signs of what was to come as Detroit house emerged from the shadows to worldwide renown following the accomplishments of Moodymann, Theo Parrish, and others. Detroit Beatdown, the DJ trio formed by Talley, Delano Smith, and Mike ‘Agent X’ Clark circa 2000, became instrumental in this rise. Showcasing the slowed down, raw, low-slung take on house that could only come from Detroit, these three artists who helped pioneer the sound presented their own personal vision to eager audiences, capped by their three-hour, three part contribution to RA’s esteemed podcast in 2010.
By 2009 the reevaluation of early Detroit underground figures reached full swing, and Talley took the opportunity to strike, releasing a stillunbroken string of singles on reputed labels - Third Ear, Sushitech, Mixmode, Landed, Dockside, Thema, and more – as well as Omar -S’ powerhouse FXHE, who dropped his first album, 2017’s ‘Norm-A-Lize’, to critical acclaim. Mostly released since 2009, his productions trace the entire spectrum of Detroit music from disco, vocal house, and deepest transmissions to nasty techno only Motown could produce, all delivered with raw emotional intensity that keeps his DJ sets in high demand worldwide. ‘Travelin’, ‘Powder’ and ‘Join Hands’ have all become wellworn underground classics, while ‘Analog XTC’, played by Ricardo Villalobos, reached different circles entirely and is a testament to his versatility as an artist.
His relationship with Omar-S is currently deepening with two singles on FXHE, including a reissue of his classic track ‘Detroit 2 Step’ and tour