Classic Techno label from Detroit, USA. Label owner: Carl Craig.
There are DJs who grab bigger headlines, and producers who invite more press. In the ebb and flow of what's popular in electronic music, there are those who have larger followings or whose names are on more bloggers' fingertips at any given moment in time. But no artist in the genre commands as much respect, from fans and peers alike, as consistently and influentially as Detroit-based DJ and producer CARL CRAIG. As an artist, a label-owner and club DJ, he is one of the few who has literally helped shape the sound of modern electronic music, with an inventive career that has spanned 18 years.
Craig created the label entirely on his own, Planet E Communications. Based in Detroit and run by his cousin, Planet E quickly became one of the more significant independent labels in electronic music, aided of course by Carl's own releases. Planet E's roster includes influential recordings by artists like Moodymann, Recloose, Alton Miller, Kevin Saunderson and several others.
One of the first releases on the label was under Craig's 69 alias, "4 Jazz Funk Classics" EP (the title is an ode to early electronic experimentalists, Throbbing Gristle). The 69 (pronounced "six-nine") name was Carl's avenue for more experimental techno sounds, and it was clear that even early in his career, Craig was demonstrating an explorer's curiosity of how the language of techno could articulate itself in various fashions. His different aliases then - as now - play into that idea, courageously battling against the ideas of monolithic identity and "branding." If one were to compile a master catalog of Carl Craig's tracks, they would need to sort through an assemblage of different 12"s and CDs spread across a diverse number of labels in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Craig has often been fascinated with the complex relationship between live and programmed music. In 2003, he would participate in a project titled The Detroit Experiment, a studio collaboration between Craig and Detroit-based jazz players like Mora, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, reedist Bennie Maupin, pianist Geri Allen, producer/vocalist Amp Fiddler and several Motown session players. In 2007, Craig released a single, Paris Live, that features versions of "Twilight" and Craig's classic "At Les" performed live with a band: Detroit jazz musicians Wendell Harrison (clarinet, saxophone) and Kelvin Sholar (pianist) and Underground Resistance head Mad Mike Banks (keyboard).The same year he recorded Paris Live, Craig also participated in Narodniki (Russian for "amongst friends"), a techno laptop supergroup that also featured Richie Hawtin, Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Basic Channel and others performing live for an adoring dancing public at the Montreaux Jazz Festival.
Further recordings will be released on a new sub-label of Planet E called Community Projects in summer 2008. Craig had previously launched another sub-label of Planet E called Antidote, which focused on hip-hop artists from in and around Detroit. Written by Joseph Patel. December 2007.