Top 10 Detroit Records of circa 1999
1. Kenny Dixon Jr. — "Shades of Jae" — Moodymann
Simply put, the most inspiring Detroit cut of the year. Perfect party music, with its tease and suspense, drama and funk — this is the way a DJ who knows how to work the crowd makes a record. I heard the crowd scream every time this was played this year, from François Kevorkian's set to Theo Parish rocking this at Sharif's. An instant classic.
2. Aztec Mystic — Knights of the Jaguar EP — UR
Rolando gains worldwide recognition as a producer (he was already renowned for his DJing) with a deeply spiritual EP, full of light and epic melodies. The melodies were later perverted by Sony Germany in a cheap trance cover version, making this the most controversial of Detroit records this year. ¡Viva la Resistance!
3. Detroit Grand Pubahs — "Sandwiches" — Throw
I know you wanna do it! Paris and Andy take their vision to the world, in perhaps one of the best and most pure examples of amazing, raw, homemade music, fueled by inebriation and breeding the best and brightest moments for the dance floor.
4. Various Artists — Oralolio — Ersatz Audio
ADULT., whose live show this fall with Andrea Parker was one of the highlights of the year, turned in its most danceable track (along with Perspects' Ersatz Audio debut), bringing vocals and song concepts back to electro-futuristic retro music.
5. Shake — Tracks for my Father — 7th City
Eclectic, inspirational and deep commentary from one of Detroit techno's originators (who is finally getting his much-deserved international credit) with one of his finest records to date. Watch out for Songs for my Mother on Frictional in early 2000.
6. Recloose — Spelunking EP — Planet E
After touring the world with the Innerzone Orchestra, Matt Chicoine releases his best music to date, with the stunning future-house track "Soul Clap 2000" as the centerpiece.
7. I.O.S. — "Rollin' Through Time" — F.A.C.T.
Everybody thinks it's "the Record Time song" (it says "right through time," not "Record Time"). Perfect raw ghetto-tech that packs the floor, dumb voices and all. "Jitty jit!"
8. Theo Parrish — "Dance of the Drunken Drums" — Sound Signatures
Blown-out, head-bobbing, late-night loft parties; this track is pure underground dance music that can only come from someone who lives and breathes it. This track breaks all the rules and infuses a Berlin-style soundscape into an off-kilter Detroit house track. Highly original.
9. Aaron Carl — "Down" — Metroplex
Originally released on a compilation a few years ago, this track was remixed and rereleased this year on Metroplex. It's still the original that gets played, usually at 45. For DJs in the world's most homophobic scene to be playing a homoerotic cut makes this Detroit's most subversive booty track to date.
10. DJ Assault — "Hoes get Naked" — Electrofunk
Along with DJ Godfather, Assault is Detroit's reigning king of ghetto-tech and, until recently, a phenomenon only known in Detroit. This year, he took his sound to the world, playing industry parties in New York and LA, and jetskiing with DJ Rap in Puerto Rico. DJ Assault is now global.
Innerzone Orchestra — Programmed — Planet E-Astralwerks-Talkin' Loud
Many new ideas explored within the grooves here, but as with all jazz greats, I'd rather hear them play live. And I'm sure I (and you) will, around Memorial Day in Hart Plaza, Detroit, when Carl Craig helps throw Detroit's most international, huge, exciting, free, three-day, four-stage electronic music party ever. Stay tuned.