Carl Craig's Planet E Records is the little label that could as far as Detroit techno is concerned. Besides being home to such acclaimed releases as Recloose's So This Is The Dining Room and Paperclip People's "For My Peepz," Planet E has a new ringer in its midst. Jason Hogan's new Peter and the Rooster EP is a dubbed-out bit of space funk that soothes the post-acid jazz soul as well as fans of Papa Craig's excursions into filtered, sound track-y techno. In an equally forward-thinking move, Planet E releases Hogan's new joint on CD June 22. Meanwhile, Planet E has hired Peter Wohelski, formerly of über-electronica label Astralwerks, as label manager. With phat mentions in the recent issue of Spin and a much-anticipated new jazz-no disc by Innerzone Orchestra set to drop soon, Planet E is breaking the shoulda-coulda-woulda underdog status that most Detroit labels — which survive as much on respect than record sales, it seems — too often get relegated to.
HOMME DE PLASTIQUE
Windsor's Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman, was set to open up at New York City's sold-out Hammerstein ballroom opening for Brit dance-rock band Underworld, performing his requisite set of "decks, effects and 909" (meaning a DJ set augmented with live drum machine and dubbed-out plasti-madness). Seems, however, that Underworld were a little wary of letting a rave favorite have the chance to show up their over-forty-and-fellin'-foxy techno escapades, and so demanded Herr Plastik not "perform" onstage. So, while Underworld went on to do an amazing set of Peter Gabriel-sized arena techno, Hawtin, who claimed to have problems getting his special performance mixer to NY for the gig, stuck to an anonymous set of hard grooves offstage. "I'm just gonna play records" he told promoters backstage, classily heading off any potential friction with the Brits but sadly depriving the NY crowd of a set more challenging than the Undies’ what's-not-to-like brand of guitar-wielding BPM bump.
Back in Detroit last weekend, Hawtin teamed up with Detroit techno's prodigal son (and biggest success) Jeff Mills, who returned to Detroit from his now-home of Chicago, apparently just to party hop and see old pals. (Contrary to rave scene rumors, Mills, who seems to have made a point of not playing his old hometown, will not be performing at BTM Productions July rave with Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, who, for the millionth time people, invented techno goddamit! So buy their records. Oh, yeah, they don't really have any new records.)
Anyhoo, Mills and Hawtin went to promoter Michelle Banks' party, where they were only a handful of people not on the guest list who decided to show up for the party, which was headlined by Mark Gage, aka Vapourspace. All the rest of Detroit, apparently none too keen that Banks is working the decidedly-above ground club (like that matters?) Motor, were all either at Sven Vath at Motor or at some candyraver party where everybody is cooler and the vibe there is just like the old days and it's all about the music and everybody who put in money lost their ass.
Dee-troit DJ gig of the month: DJ Rolando, of Underground Resistance, now sayin' "forget that militant crap, I wanna get paid," has been Detroit's most unlikely high- profile deejay of late.
The only UR member bold enough to admit that "most of our audience is white" has split off to do his own thing, and is currently enjoying the success of his "Night of the Jaguar" single, which, with its Wild Kingdom roar sample and cool-ass post-electro mood-funk, is charting all over the place in Europe while, as usual, no one from the Submerge camp here at home bothers to send a copy for local review. Militant indeed. Anyway, Rolando and fellow straight-up Detroit dude Jacq play Motor in two weeks. More info and a possible interview next week. Meanwhile, call 313-369-0080 for info.