DETROIT'S IN THE HOUSE VS. DETROIT IS THE HOUSE
Now that national attention is turning to Detroit-based dance music producers and deejays, the real question for those would-be ambassadors of the Detroit sound is: When is somebody gonna pony up with an all-Detroit compilation or mix CD? Stacey Pullen, in between signing to the UK's Science label (home of darkcore junglists Source Direct), running his own Black Flag Recordings label and playing prestigious deejaying gigs such as his August showing at New York's P.S. 1 deejay series, is pondering putting out one himself. "The U.S. is in dire need of a nice solid Detroit dance compilation," he says.
Well, the answer to when a Detroit comp/mix is gonna happen so far is: Not soon enough, and at the earliest, February. First of all, the planned Motor-sponsored mix CD, originally slated for release last month, is on hold, a casualty of the Sowers/Sordyl split at the Hamtramck club last month.
Resident DJ Bone recorded a Detroit-heavy set late last summer, and now can't get the master tape back from former co-owner Steven Sowers. Sowers, whose international playboy-styled campaigning for the club was largely responsible for the slew of recent press in the likes of Details and Mixer magazines, and largely responsible for getting him fired, originated the idea to expand the Motor brand into the realm of mix CDs. Since leaving the club, Sowers has apparently been contacted several times by Bone, who wants to put out the tape with or without Motor's or Sowers' backing or brand name (good move) but Sowers has not turned over the tape. An understandably frustrated Bone is now debating starting from scratch, which given his penchant for spinning deep, five-hour sets at Motor, should yield a decent Detroit's-inda-house section ripe for public consumption.
Meanwhile, Bone's first release on his own Subject:Detroit label has already gone into a second printing thanks to a distributor's order for 500 more copies, so he's off and running with or without the mix CD.
Not quite a mix CD but just as strong, is Intuit Records' upcoming, non-techno/all-electro-and-jungle From Tha D disc, compiled by Solar impresario Jon Layne and due out on vinyl by February and on CD by March. The who's who of the Detroit scene now (as opposed to holdover's from the techno era) are duly assembled -- from AUX 88 founder and current bizarro-electro warrior Keith Tucker, to neo-junglists DJ Shortstop, Paris and the Punisher, house king Terrance Parker, to ghetto-tech heavyweights DJs Assault Godfather and Disco D -- and all contribute tracks. Other notables include Ann Arbor electro-purists Ectomorph and computer-lovin' new-wave geeks Le Car, as well as Detroit notables Derrick Thomspon of Soiree Records, Anthony "Shake" Shakir, Matrix Records kingpin Sean Deason, and the Artist Formerly Known As Bubblicious, DJ Recloose. "It's a compilation of 'ghetto-tech' -- electro, booty and drum 'n' bass," says Layne, "This is the new generation of Detroit artists and they deserve to be heard."
MADE (MOSTLY) IN DETROIT
Meanwhile one Detroit (sort of) compilation that is out is Soiree Records' Nocturnia II, which features upstart deep house tracks by the likes of DJ Drivetrain (Derrick Thomspon), ex-Motor resident St. Andy (whose track, ironically is named after his former place of employ) and former mix-show captain Dawyne "Powermix" Jensen, who all contribute tracks that pretty much fit into the funky techno/hard house category. No one can say Soiree owner Thompson isn't a little adventurous; everybody from LA's Wilhelm K to even area percussionist Jerry the Cat contributes a track. And as far as the Soiree brand promise of "Deep, intelligent, late night music..." the disc is just that, if maybe a little too on the I-assume-you-drink-Martell tip. But for smooved-out funky house, Soiree's Nocturnia II is a Detroit idea done pretty damn well, with no scene in-fighting and intergenerational techno snobbery at all. This lack of squabbling may explain why it's the first pretty-much-all-Detroit comp to come out since Caroline's 3rd Wave disc, give or take, of course, the Submerge Depth Charge series, limited only to artists carried by Submerge distribution. Soiree Records can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.soireerecords.com.
Women On Wax's DJ Minx replaces beatdown house old-schooler Mike "Agent X" Clark as Saturday resident at Motor. Known for her upbeat house stylee -- she once played Stardust's "The Music Sounds Better With You" three times in one set -- Minx may be the crowd-pleaser Motor needs to make.
Meanwhile, Motor co-owner and now not-so-silent partner Carlos has acquired Michigan Avenue's One X club. The sometimes-gay club will serve as sort of Motor's deeper, scene-conscious raver cousin. New owner Carlos will keep the gay nights, but given the recent crackdown on area raves, look for One X to serve as a safe haven for party programmers.