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- R culture celebrates being a badboy, whether it b hiphop or rock. It doesn’t translate 2 dance music
- Me, Myself, and I
- There are DJs who grab bigger headlines, and producers who invite more press. In the ebb and flow of whats popular in electronic music, there are those who attract larger followings or whose names are on more bloggers fingertips at any given moment in time. But no artist in the genre commands as much respect, from fans and peers alike, as consistently and influentially as Detroit-based DJ and producer, Carl Craig. As an artist, a label-owner and club DJ, he is one of the few who has literally shaped the sound of modern electronic music, with an inventive career that has spanned 18 years.
"The Grand Master" - mixmag
- My Album (8)
Dancefloor experimentalist and top Detroit techno producer Carl Craig has few equals in terms of the artistry, influence, and diversity of his recordings. Few others have recorded so much quality music in such a variety of styles than Craig, who jammed distorted beat-box samples into lo-fi electro riggings, crafted epic house tracks like his remix of Tori Amos' "God," and recorded the most sublime Detroit techno since godfathers Juan Atkins and Derrick May were at their peak. After an apprenticeship during the late '80s with Derrick May, Craig began releasing his own recordings in 1989, first on May's Transmat imprint and later on his own label, Planet E Communications.
During the following decade, Craig spread his work between solo aliases -- Paperclip People, Innerzone Orchestra, 69 -- and his own name. With each new project and each change of musical direction though, he distinguished himself as one of the few artists to consistently hit the mark with productions whose subtleties in the living room more than matched their infectious energy on the dancefloor. When he was growing up and attending Detroit's Cooley High, Craig was turned on to a diverse musical diet ranging from Prince to Led Zeppelin to the Smiths. He often practiced on his guitar, but later became interested in club music as well through his cousin, who worked lighting for various parties around the Detroit area.
The first wave of Detroit techno had already set sail by the mid-'80s, and Craig began listening to tracks courtesy of Derrick May's radio show on WJLB. He began experimenting with recording techniques using dual-deck cassette players, and later convinced his parents to buy him a synthesizer and sequencer. Craig also studied electronic music, including the work of Morton Subotnick, Wendy Carlos and Pauline Oliveros. While taking an electronics course, he met a mutual friend of May and passed on a tape including some of his home productions. May loved what he heard and brought him into the studio to re-record one track, "Neurotic Behavior." Completely beatless in its original mix (since Craig didn't own a drum machine), the track was just as sublime and visionary as Juan Atkins' blueprint for cosmic techno-funk yet called on emotions previously found only on Derrick May's material.
The British fascination with Detroit techno was just beginning to take hold by 1989, and Carl Craig was invited to witness the phenomenon first-hand by touring with May's Rhythim Is Rhythim project (which supported Kevin Saunderson's Inner City on several English dates). The trip became an extended working holiday, as Craig helped out on production for a re-recording of May's classic "Strings of Life" and the new Rhythim Is Rhythim single, "The Beginning." He also found time to record several tracks of his own at R&S Studios in Belgium. On his return to the U.S., Craig released several R&S tracks on the Crackdown EP, recorded as Psyche for May's Transmat Records.
Craig then founded Retroactive Records with Damon Booker, and despite working days at a copy shop, continued recording in his parents' basement. Carl Craig released six singles for Retroactive during 1990-91 (as BFC, Paperclip People and Carl Craig) but the label was dissolved in 1991 due to disputes with Booker.
That same year, Craig formed the solo concern Planet E Communications for the release of his new EP 4 Jazz Funk Classics (recorded as 69). Deliberately lo-fi and gritty with the implementation of funky beat-box samples, tracks like "If Mojo Was AM" presented a new leap forward after the compulsive sheen of Retroactive singles like "Galaxy" and "From Beyond." Besides the distortion of 4 Jazz Funk Classics, his other Planet E work during 1991 contained off-the-cuff nods to such disparate moods as hip-hop and hardcore techno.
The following year's "Bug in the Bassbin" unveiled another Carl Craig alias, Innerzone Orchestra, and added elements of jazz to his beatbox frenzy. In the process, Crai
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