We Love Detroit takes a look at one of the protagonists of the story of the birth of techno “the innovator” Derrick May. Examining the journey of techno from conception, its explosion onto the international scene and back to its rediscovery by a new generation inspired by the groundbreaking journey of their hometown predecessors.
We see how almost twenty years later Jimmy Edgar and his contemporaries have taken inspiration from the City and the people who created an entire subculture and they have expanded on, making their own interpretations and once more putting Detroit on the map as one of the most important cities in the electronic music world.
Derrick May’s selection throws light on pivotal moments in techno’s formation. Tracing contemporaries that wore into the landscape to classics from masters that are still as relevant today (Carl Craig and KiNK), his Detroit is bursting with energy and desperate for change. In contrast, Edgar uncovers a new dawn for the city. His chosen tracks are still potent and raw but also majorly as yet unheard.
Label: We Love Recordings
Cat no: WLR02
Released: Monday December 3rd, 2012
- John Beltran – Synaptic Transmission
- Yotam Avni – Pentimento
- Petar Dundov – Distant Shores
- KiNK – Hand Made (Dub mix)
- Kai Alce – Power Thru Pt 3 (Mush’s Sax Dub)
- Deep’A & Biri – Hova
- Carl Craig – Sandstorms
- Federico Grazzini – Nova
- Benny Rodrigues – It’s A Spiritual Thing
- Andres – New For U
- Jimmy Edgar – Let Yrself Be
- Lando Kai – Clockin’
- Jimmy Edgar – Semierotic
- Magda – Late Night Woodward
- Kyle Hall & Kero- Zug Island
- Coyote Clean Up – Mount Babe Bricks
- Noel Jackson – That You Love Me
- Darling Farah – Body
- Magic Touch feat. N Dawson – Niks Groove
- Kris Wadsworth – Connection
- Axiom Crux – When Summer Doesn’t Come
HOW IT BEGAN
Detroit became known as the birthplace of techno in the 80´s, the catalyst for this futuristic music came in the unlikely form of the schoolboy friendships of Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May or The Belleville Three as they faithfully became known, adopting the namesake of the suburban high school where they met. What separated them from their contemporaries was their view of music. To them it was a serious philosophy rather than a simple form of entertainment.
Atkins made the first leaps in production, writing some seminal early electro tracks under his Cybotron collaboration with Rick Davies. Saunderson would go onto international commercial success with his Innercity outfit. But it was Derrick May´s mix of early Detroit electro and Chicago house beats that would become the blueprint for techno as many of us will recognize it today. After a short burst of production as Rhythim Is Rhythim between ´87 – ´89 tracks like “Nude Photo” and “Strings of Life” put May on the international map. And though his release schedule all but halted during the 1990s, he continued DJing around the world and honed Transmat into one of the most respected techno labels in the world.
Detroit as a city fell into steady decline after the collapse of the auto industry, as Detroit experienced heavy economic downfall, many of the middle-class white families fled to the suburbs in what is called the “white flight” of the early 70s while middle-class black families were displaced by the de-gentrification of once securely middle-class black districts. Detroit Techno as a genre created a newfound, integrated club scene in Detroit that had not been felt in a general sense after the Motown label moved to Los Angeles.
THE NEW GENERATION
Fast-forward into the 21st century and we find a young Jimmy Edgar playing drums in various Detroit bands, like most of his teenage friends he is into rock music. Contrary to common Europe belief, techno is not omnipresent in Detroit, the scene is incredibly niche and tight knit. If the opportunity hadn´t presented itself in the form of Jimmy stealing a pair of turntables when he was 15 things could have turned out very differently.
The young Edgar ended up playing at parties a friend of his older brother was organizing in Detroit, playing alongside Atkins and May, who Jimmy thought at the time were just local cats on the scene. Although he respected and looked up to them, it wasn´t until later on he realized how pivotal these people were in the creation of a sound that was entirely Detroit inspired.