Friday, 4 March 2011

20 Years of Planet E

So, Carl Craig is in town this weekend to celebrate 20 years of Planet E, and predictably internet forums and social networking websites around the land are alive with chatter about the highlights of those 20 years.

As mentioned on here before, I’m partial to a little c2 on the old stereogram at Beyond The Stars Towers, so these discussions have been of some interest to me. General consensus seems suggest that ‘Throw’ and ‘At Les’ are his most popular efforts, but let’s be honest, we probably don’t really need to hear either record ever again, do we?

So, here’s some of my favourite that aren’t ‘Throw’’ or ‘At Les’. Not definitive by any stretch of the imagination, but they work for me.

R-Tyme ‘Use Me’ (Carl Craig’s R-Tyme Groove) - Criminally under played, not even on Youtube, and everyone bangs on about the MK mix on the other side, but basically one of the best house records ever made. In my all time top 5. Live sounding drums, funky as fuck, the vocal drop sounds like Robert Owens but isn’t, then the melancholy keys, oh my god, the hairs stand up on my arms just thinking about. And then when you think it can’t get any better the bass hits you and the flute kicks in. It’s work of musical craftsmanship but it’s still raw. Basically, it’s fucking amazing.

BFC ‘Galaxy’ - One of his first efforts on Transmat. Got a real Transmat feel, but darker and more sinister than Derrick May and frankly, more other worldly. Moody synthetic strings, frantic, staccato beats, and backward sounds. Like what you expect the future to sound like.

Dave Angel ‘Tokyo Stealth Fighter’ (Carl Craig Remix) - This never gets a mention either? Why not? Driving beats, air raid sirens, tearing lazer noises, deep bass drops, echo and more backwards noises. It's late 90s techno at it’s trance like best (and I don’t trance as in shit but as in lose yourself in a musical trance) and is unfathomably heavy

69 ‘Ladies and Gentleman’ - First heard this on that Sasha's ‘Giving It Up’ show on Kiss (mid week, early hours take-over type thing). It’s a crazy record, ravey in places then goes off on so many tangents. It’s one to dance too in dark basements but also one to listen to at home on the headphones. And when it goes all dream like and trippy near the end? Blimey. I think this really demonstrates that Carl Craig is actually a musical genius. It’s almost classical like in its complexity. Where do these ideas come from? Is he on some sort of heavy drugs? There are more musical ideas crammed into this one track than most house/techno producers have in their life. It’s completely fearless, completely insane and really quite beautiful. Awesome in the truest sense of the word.

Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russo ‘ Relevee’ (Carl Craig remix) - This is like illegitimate child of ‘Tokyo Stealth Fighter’ and ‘Ladies and Gentleman’, who was sent away to stay with an Aunt as baby, only to turn up and bang on Daddy’s door 10 years later. More properly mental composition - a lengthy acidic intro, building and building, and then wallop, massively heavy big room sounds, intricate piano, almost disco-like bongos and really delicate strings. There’s so much going on, and again, how does he sit down and have ideas like this? First heard this when Ame played the promo at Faith at Turnmills, it was one of those ‘WTF?’ moments and was the talk of the town (ok, internet forums) the following week, as people scrabbled around trying to find a copy. A kindly AandR sorted me out and I probably still owe him a beer for that. 5 years old now, where the fuck does the time go?

You can catch Carl DJing at Phonica between 6-8pm on Saturday and then later at the Planet E party, at Ewer Street car park in SE1 (sounds great). More deatils here: