Here’s a quick & dirty all-Detroit techno mix that I recorded for American Apparel’s Viva-Radio:
Detroit. Say it out loud and you want to talk tough. The word drums up a jangled metal dystopia: images of gritted teeth cut with hard sharp music and gutted buildings covered with defiant fist-raising graphics, reverberating with an echoing kick drum and a synthesizer growl. Here is the muscular arm of the American underground, the bastard kicked under the table and living in the grittiest alley, hungover from a long night of redlining and arson. A bad 1980s punchline, synonymous with Beirut. Detroit. A whispered threat to all industrial cities: America’s boogeyman.
Hyperbole is easy when it comes to Detroit. There’s a reason there’s a fist in the heart of the city.
At the other end of the spectrum, the city is worshipped from a safe distance as a creative legend, a mythic art colony. People talk about musical genius rising from the ashes, about the beautiful people crowding into abandoned factories to change the future – or at least give it a new soundtrack.
The truth is somewhere in middle. It’s no longer Devil’s Night, but it’s not quite dawn yet, either. You hear it in the music: scary and optimistic, dirty yet determined. Industrial names filled X’s and mystery that become hallowed monuments: Metroplex, Drexciya, DBX, Ectomorph. Play it loud.
01. Paris the Black Fu – Fogdust vs. Detroit (Intuit-Solar, 2000)
02. A Number of Names – Sharivari (Ectomorph Remix) (Puzzlebox, 2001)
03. Channel One – Technicolor (Metroplex, 1986)
04. Model 500 – Night Drive Through Babylon (Metroplex, 1985)
05. Model 500 – Interference (Metroplex, 1988)
06. Cybotron – Alleys of Your Mind (Deep Space Records, 1981)
07. Drexciya – Bang Bang (Submerge, 1997)
08. DBX – Bleep (Accelerate, 1993)
09. Audrey Hoermann – A Dozen Bakers (Odic Force, 1998)
10. Detroit Grand Pubahs – If Snow Was Black (Intuit-Solar, 2000)
11. DBX – Losing Control (Peacefrog, 1994)
12. 8068 – 005 (Plus 8, 1997)
13. Audion – Mouth to Mouth (Spectral Sound, 2006)