May 17, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it an A-

As any DJ worth his VI on to alter pop music on a grand scale. Inner City’s past dalliance with Virgin Records aside, the local scene has remained insular and fiercely independent. But as the annual Detroit Electronic Music Festival (May 25-27) will attest, the town has mad talent, and Recloose, a.k.a. Matt Chicoine, is among the maddest. A hip-hop head from the Motor City mentored by label honcho and scene demigod Carl Craig, he’s been a genre mutt from the get-go, and on this long-brewing debut, the tension between Chicoine’s catholic tastes and techno’s lock-groove formalism makes for heady sound clashes. Broken-beat shrapnel alternates with martial swing and turntablist wicky-scratch; ’70s funk nuzzles dub reggae and house. The electro-R&B vocals don’t always cohere, but even the disconnects have a hypnotic appeal. MOBY MOMENT The lush soul-hymn title track — what the little bald guy might make if he spent more time in Tower’s jazz section.

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