WILL YOU JOIN ME PLEASE IN WELCOMING
Off the air since a falling-out with WJLB last fall, ghetto-tech jock extraordinaire Gary Chandler is back doing his pitched-up, scratch-happy mix. Friday nights he’s returned to WJLB (FM 97.9), spinning live from new hot spot Studio 95 in Highland Park, while Saturday nights his mix show is heard on tape from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. As for Chandler’s rumored solo CD, word is he finally took his sampler out of the box and is reading the instruction manual. Now that he’s back in the spotlight, he’s certainly in a position to use the hype to sell his own take on the Detroit ghetto-tech sound his sped-up DJing style helped pioneer. But to his credit, Chandler learned to DJ alongside members of Detroit’s techno and house underground elite back in the day, regularly passing up gigs overseas to play his weekend Detroit gigs. And he was instrumental in bringing back the live mix show. Safe to say he’s pretty much the reason why the WJLB "Rap Blast" has become the only airtime Detroit-made music by DJ Assault, Godfather, Aux 88 and 12 Tech Mob can count on. And, as his jungle-on-45 forays last Friday night showed, Chandler ain’t afraid to take chances. Nice to have him back.
Is she jungle or is she techno? The answer is: Well, she’s busy. Michelle "the Punisher" Herrman is the city’s most promising producer lately, and ironically, on both the usually polar opposite techno and jungle fronts. Her creepy, vintage-synth jungle track for Jon Layne’s excellent new Comin’ From Tha D: Ghetto-Tech compilation stands out for its techno-sounds-with-a-jungle-beat hybrid, but lately she’s been putting most of her energies into her techno tracks on her own Seismic label. As a DJ, she’s pretty on top of which jocks buy what. "I’m handling all the distribution myself, but everybody I’ve called has ordered it," she explains.
And with good reason. "Seismic 001" is syncopated tribal techno at its finest, minus the trademark Detroit gooey strings, instead building its hooks out of percussion flourishes. Before leaving for New York two weekends ago to spin techno at a loft party and then jungle at NY’s famed Konkrete Jungle Monday, she put things into perspective. "Everybody wants me to put out jungle tracks right now, but I’m gonna wait because of all the other stuff I’m working on."
What she’s referring to is her high-profile collaboration with Vapourspace’s Mark Gage, due out this summer. Meanwhile, those interested can check out Lil’ Pun’s mix tapes at Detroit Threads (313-872-1777, on Joseph Campau in Hamtramck). More info: MsPunisher@aol.com.
For years now, Derrick Thompson’s Soiree Records has existed in its own world in the Detroit scene. Like his techno brethren, Thompson has found greater acceptance in Europe for Soiree’s techno/house "late night body music" than in the states. But unlike his techno brethren, Soiree’s records haven’t shied away from using live musicians and exploring the funkier side of the Detroit sound; it’s not for nothing that former on-air soul jock Dewayne "Powermix" Johnson is a Soiree artist. On Soiree’s second label compilation, Nocturnia Volume 2, Thompson corrals a pretty consistent house vibe, even including a track from famed area percussionist Jerry The Cat. But while the Soiree label and Thompson, spinning under the name DJ Drivetrain, have been turning up on the local scene more these days (Drivetrain contributes a moody, string-laden drum ’n’ bass track to the Comin’ From Tha D: Ghetto Tech comp; he spun at the disc’s release party at One X last month), it seems Soiree artist Wilhelm K, from LA, is making more of a stir on the Detroit scene these days. His "Funky 4" track on the Nocturnia Volume 2 comp featured surprise turnarounds and a funky-as-all-get-out guitar line that made it an album highlight. In town last weekend to spin at the I.C.U.P. "Wupass" party, the K man returns to the area May 1 for dubtech’s "Lifted" party, where Wilhelm spins alongside LA trance-man Christopher Lawrence and Sonic Grooves’ hard techno stalwart, Adam X. For more info, pick up a flier from an area baggy pants retailer or a record store where a lot of DJs work.