Niko Marks Day of Knowing

Niko MarksDay of Knowing
Press material for the latest release from prolific DJ, producer and general Detroit house/techno OG Niko Marks describes it as his 44th studio album, and with releases on a dozen labels over the last 20-plus years under various aliases, it would be difficult to dispute this claim. In any event, Marks demonstrates on Day of Knowing that he's an eminently safe pair of hands when it comes to classy, genre-melding jazz-house like this, and while he may not stray far from his comfort zone, it's still frankly a pleasure to hear him there.
From the buzzed-out bass line of opener "Crank Shaft," to the sunny bounce of "Elle est une Danseuse a Minuet," to the more overtly techno stylings of closer "Thrill of the Chase," there's a lot to like on this varied and colourful album. The piano-laden title track is a tour-de-force of Marks' improvisational skills, although Santiago Salazar's remix falls short, swapping its nuanced instrumentation for a repetitive piano loop that seems to hardly reference the original at all.
Things become a bit less interesting, generally, when Marks dials back his rich instrumentation in favour of a more minimalist techno approach, although it does lend the album a more varied stylistic spread — it's a matter of taste, perhaps. Overall, though, Day of Knowing is an effortlessly well-crafted album, and while it may not re-write the book on jazz-house, it's always a treat to hear from someone who knows its pages by heart. (Planet E)