Send me your track


Derrick May - Innovator Review


Derrick May - Innovator (R & S)

The record that galvanized the Acid House phenomenon was without doubt “Strings of Life”, an emotion drenched solace of melancholy that went right to the nerve-centre of this cultural movement. It was a record that stopped you in your tracks. If you are like me, you would gladly never hear that record in a club again, but listening again to this beautifully remastered rerelease on R&S of what is Derrick May’s back catalogue on a 2 CD Package, it’s refreshing to find that those plangent chords still never fail to hit the spot. Having worked closely with childhood friend Juan Atkins in Detroit during the early 80’s,  May emerged in 1987 showcasing a sound that was an unlikely mix of European composers such as Vangelis and Schulze paired with Black funk like Funkadelic and Detroit electro. The phrase “Cosmic” I think is most apt for his work - certainly of all the Detroit artists that followed, it would be May who would draw most effortlessly from the sound palette, producing sumptuously melodic works that went against the norm. For me, his masterpieces are “Kaotic Harmony”, co-written with Carl Craig, and the wonderful “It is what it is”, two crystalline dancefloor classics that will be fresh in 50 years time.  It is, listening to the crisp 808 beats  and sleek synths, minimal techno 5 years before even Robert Hood or Jeff Mills made it their own. Many have questioned May’s reluctance to go back into the studio since 1995 and his reasons for not have been cloaked by speculation on all manner of topics, but ultimately when you have a back catalogue as stunning as this, does he have to? My only gripes with this release are the unfortunate clipping on “To be or Not to be” and the fact that R & S were so cheap that they couldn’t even give you a double CD case. Otherwise, this is an utterly essential document of Detroit Techno, but then you probably knew that already.

 Toby Frith

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Review - Gas - Nah und Fern boxset | Main | Move D & Benjamin Brunn - Songs from the Beehive »