Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Best Albums You Never Knew About, Vol. 1

Carl Craig's More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art is a freakin' masterpiece. I don't know that I'll elucidate on the matter much more to support that statement, but after spending a chunk of my afternoon listening to that album while working on my first canvases in nearly a decade, I am compelled to come forth and advocate for that album. For those of you who went so far as to click the link above, you would've noticed that Amazon is only offering up three used copies of the album - I'd assume that means it's out of print. And that 'tis a damn shame. Never before, and possibly never since, has someone taken such a heady approach to Detroit techno. Oh, sure, Derrick May did crank out some lofty, spiritual, and perhaps intellectual singles, but he never put forth an actual album - the most he could muster was a half-assed and painfully incomplete compilation that would be laughable were it not the only notable record of his work on compact disc, let alone the only work of his in print... But for an album, an actual album, Craig's More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art has to be the pinnacle of Detroit techo. Sprawling, spiritual, ambitious... It draws from jazz, it draws from R&B... It does not in anyway attempt to mask its blackness... Spare as only Detroit techno can be, it draws on no more than the typical sound palate of Detroit techno with the occasional addition of a sultry, female, jazz-tinged voice. The rest is all the basic drum machines and synths, the same as the Belleville Three used when making their groundbreaking works. And it reaches such lofty heights. Spare and spiritual, cool and intellectual, but we're talking jazz cool, not cold cool. Sure, subsequent Detroit techno has been more rockin' - Richie Hawtin and Matthew Dear could pummel Carl Craig into the ground wiht their relentless beats. But Craig managed to present what is perhaps the headiest, purest, blackest, and bestest manifestation of the Detroit ethos and sound.

Go but this album. Pour yourself a drink. Listen to it. And contribute...


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