We Love… Detroit | Album review
Derrick May and Jimmy Edgar take a tour of techno.
Things that are designed to be futuristic often feel quaint once the future arrives. Not so with Detroit techno, the stark sound associated with the Belleville Three—Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May. As suburban high-school kids, they created a sound that purified a sci-fi vision and rendered it in rhythm. Since then, techno has been endlessly reinterpreted by DJs of different stripes while its European variant has also strayed far from the original Motor City blueprint. The popular We Love… DJ compilation series pays tribute to the genre as a lasting influence on dance music.
Rather than cobble together an old-school primer, curators May and Jimmy Edgar draw on the outer branches of the techno family. May takes the first disc while the second belongs to Edgar, a new-generation Detroit slinger who came to deejaying by way of rock drumming, and whose own tracks have harder-hitting edges and choppier production. To prove Detroit techno’s reach, the two roam far and wide, bringing European artists like KiNK and Federico Grazzini into the mix.
But largely it’s about showing off Motor City’s deep accumulation of treasure. Detroit heavy-hitter Carl Craig’s epic “Sandstorms” is included here as is the lesser-known Andrés with the soulful “New for U.” An endless sax solo on Kai Alce’s “Power Thru Pt 3 (Mush’s Sax Dub)” sets the track apart and also serves as a subtle reminder that trademarks of the ’80s can go in and out of vogue. There’s no telling which way techno is going in today’s EDM-friendly market, but the hope is that with more ears open, it’s going somewhere good.