Five (deep) tracks from Detroit
Some hidden gems from the eternal techno-city :
The Detroit Escalator Co. – Shifting gears (Ferox Records)
Thanks to the beautiful Black buildings album, I’ve discovered Neil Ollivierra aka The Detroit Escalator Co. in 2001. Some years later I’ve checked his previous albums Excerpts and Soundtrack  where Shifting gears comes from. His music is really minimal, deep, and melancholic. Always some patterns with few drums processed in a delay effect, one or two dreamy pads, and a simple but deep melody. The repetition turns in your mind like a nostalgic mantra, and brings you in a superb and unique universe. TDEC has crossed the galaxy of techno like a comet, before disappearing. Let’s hear the dust he has left behind, and enjoy it.
Kenny Larkin – Chasers (Distance)
Wowww. I’ve just discovered this 1994 track, and what a mind-blowing piece, still super fresh 20 years later ! This is a timeless bomb, labelled 90’s techno with the extensive use of the TR-909 and textures from digital synths of that period. I suspect that the main chord (which sounds a bit like the bass-line of Lil’ Louis’ French kiss) is a sample. We can hear at the end of the loop a little “tick”, probably taken from an other record, processed in a sampler with effects and EQ’s, which gives it a very good punch and dynamic and drives the track like a super deep journey of some space chasers. Killer music.
Detroit in Effect – R U married (M.A.P. Records)
Probably my favorite track from the electro duo Detroit in Effect. A sad mood, a killer hi-tek funk bass, serious vocals, and some unbeatable electro rhythms. Minimal, repetitive, and very efficient. A great track from the underground Detroit scene. They have also released two records for Clone during the 00’s and I recommend a Youtube trip on tracks like Move yo body, Nothing like Detroit, or Out with the old. After hearing
R U married the melody will haunt you for the next few days. Are you married ? – Oh no!
Theorem – Fallout (M_nus)
Another legend, the white boy of the list : Dale Lawrence aka Theorem. I’m not 100% sure he is native from Detroit. I think he’s from the West-Coast, and moved later in Detroit. He’s actually living near New York I think. Anyway, we know Theorem for two albums on Plus8 and M_nus (same houses run by Richie Hawtin) and also for an awesome collaborative project with Sutekh, Stewart Walker, and Swayzak, releasing five Ep’s and then a compilation/album in 2002. Fallout is a great progressive deep electronic journey (the main “theme” starts at 4:30 ! and it’s not a tool track). Echos, minor explosions, teleportation in an other dimension through the universe to a green planet full of impressive jungles, symbolized by this special flute in the middle of the track (the “theme”). I’ve read somewhere that he has used a Juno (106 or 60/6), sampled the material, and arranged a tack in average during 2 weeks, trying to strip all the elements down at maximum to keep the essence of them. The result is here : minimal and perfect.
Aaron Carl – Simply – instrumental (Wallshaker Music)
Aaron Carl tragically passed away in 2010, at the age of 37. He has released a lot of memorable tracks mostly in the house vein (classics like Crucified, Wallshaker…), haunted by his own vocals. Simply had been under my radar cause it was not released on vinyl. I’ve discovered it when watching a mix of Derrick May at this famous Japanese club where every sets are filmed and streamed live. It was the first track, and what a great feeling ! The strings are beautiful, they come slowly, rise and rise… Very emotional and intense track.