Boomkat Product Review:
The earliest, and arguably some of the best work of Carl Craig collected on a precious, much needed reissue of 'Elements 1989-1990' - one of the rarest artefacts of classic Detroit Techno.
For the heads it's a premium nostalgia trip, and for others, an invaluable lesson in the art of Motor City Soul. Coming thru with the city's 2nd wave of producers - Anthony Shakir, Sherard Ingram, Jeff Mills, UR - a young Carl Craig was deeply inspired by his city's heritage and the sound of the Music Institute - Detroit's answer to Chicago's Muzik Box or NYC's Danceteria - to create his own fusion of all the jazz, funk, new wave, electro and breakbeat styles he'd absorbed in the '70s and '80s.
But he was also influenced by the sounds coming out of Europe - from the hugely influential R&S camp in Belgium, but also the Jungle breakbeat movement of UK labels like Shut Up And Dance - and it's this cross-fertilisation that imbues this material with so much depth. Much in the same way that the very best UK Jungle seemed to take on the emotive strings and progressions of Detroit Techno, these early productions flipped the script, rendering the most moving strains of Motor City Soul with the robust and broken percussion of innovators from across the pond.
Tracks like 'Chicken Noodle Soup' sounded unlike anything that had been heard from Detroit up until that point (in fact the track was written in London), and are as vital and impressive today as they were over 20 years ago. Carl Craig's productions from this era really do amount to some of the most soulful and evolved music to come from Detroit, or anywhere else for that matter, from the era.
We're talking ultra classic gear such as the swooning electro-jazz of 'Elements' which gives this comp its title, and the spine-tingling beauty of his first production, 'Neurotic Behaviour', or the noirish, city-scape elan of 'From Beyond' - written on his first trip to Belgium - or the breakbeat house magic of the aforementioned 'Chicken Noodle Soup' and the deeply moving 'Galaxy'.
And now for the first time, the comp also includes his legendary 'Crackdown', also written during his stint with Renaat from R&S in Belgium, alongside the Derrick May-mixed swinger 'Andromeda' and the ruder flex of 'Evolution'. Oh, and if you ever wanted to hear what '81 era The Cure might have sounded like if they were from Detroit, How The West Was Won is it.
Quite simply, if you were to own one album from the second wave of Detroit Techno - this really would be up there with the very best of them, it really is one of the finest collections of electronic music you'll ever have the pleasure of owning.