Arguably the best club night Detroit’s had in a long time, Saturday night’s "Go Deep" at Club Better Days, is taking an unplanned spring vacation, as Better Days has been closed down indefinitely following a police raid two Fridays ago during another promoters’ regular Friday night party. "Go Deep" resident DJ Mike Clark was unaware of the raid the previous night, and it was only moments before the club was set to open that Saturday when the club’s owner called to tell Clark and promoter Korie Enyard that the space was closed down due to police orders. The repercussions, according to Clark, are that Better Days will remain closed while renovations and "the proper paperwork" is taken care of. An unfortunate setback for Detroit’s house music scene, especially since the deep, beatdown house sound Clark and former "Go Deep" resident Patrick Scott Grooves have championed for years has won back credibility and visibility, finally emerging from the shadow of the higher-profile techno scene and coming into its own again on the local scene. Here’s to better days for Better Days.
After a year of contract talks and anticipation, Detroit’s Planet E Records has announced that Detroit uber-producer Carl Craig’s jazz-techno side project Innerzone Orchestra will release its full-length record through electronic mega-label Astralwerks this August. Folks equating the live-techno buzz on Innerzone, with past techno groups like Inner City or Aux 88 should note the project’s personnel, including bassist Rodney Whitaker, keysman Craig Taborn and former Sun Ra percussionist Francisco Mora, is more jazz than techno. So, anyone expecting a Detroit techno answer to Prodigy or Freestylers should file IO under jazz. As for the tech-jazz sound — heavy on synths and syncopation — the last word, as always, is with papa Craig. "It’s Carl’s thing," said Mora when asked about the album’s final sound following recording last summer. Meanwhile, the heavyweight jazz lineup is already landing some phenomenal gigs for IO. June 22 they will perform with Hugh Masekela in New York’s Central Park, while July finds IO headlining the Montreal Jazz Festival in front of an expected crowd of 100,000. Planet E spokesperson Hannah Sawtell said plans to play a hometown show at the Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival are pending. Planet E is also launching a jazz label to put out Mora’s solo record, while future Planet E releases on listener-friendly CD format include a dubby, William Orbitish display of beatmaking skills by newcomer Jason Hogan and an EP by beatdown master Mike Clark. Aw, hell yeah.
The Throw Records label has been pining away for two years as a separate entity from its sibling labels — the booty bass label Twilight 76 and the retro-electro label Databass — releasing the occasional killer post-techno groove from Paris the Black Fu or bizarro-electro tracks from German vintage synth purist Maas 2000. But while its hard-to-nail-down dance tracks have made Throw more respectable than seaworthy, label head Brian Gillespie is pulling out all the stops by veering into the comedy realm with recent records by Paris the Black Fu. While a current Throw release "Paris the Black Fu Meets Jacques Cousteau" shows the emergence of a kind of weird Drexciya-meets-Wu Tang-meets-Soupy Sales sense of character and caricatures, Throw’s June release will be the you-either-love-it-or-you-hate-it hit of the summer. Called "Sandwiches," the clever little electroish Paris track bumps along innocently enough until a helium-voiced suitor starts detailing a mid-dance floor sexing up that’s as funny as it is out there: "I’ll be the burger, and you can be the bun, and we can make sandwiches, on the dance floor."
Destined to knock "Stairway to Heaven" off the junior high dance request list, "Sandwiches" has already impressed the producers of Saturday night’s Detroit Technology radio show enough that they may turn over the late night hour-long show on 88.7 FM to Messrs. Gillespie and Paris for a comedy-format show of skits and bootyquakin’ jams.
Mojo would be proud.