Arts & Culture » Culture

The Good Good

Co-founding one of the most revolutionary styles of the ’90s as 4 Hero (Drum & Bass), and one of its most important labels (Reinforced), London’s Dego has made a major impact on the American streets. From his influence on popular R&B producers such as Timbaland to the sheer impact of the Enforcers picture discs, which almost single-handedly brought jungle to Detroit, Dego has always made adventurous music filled with mind, body and soul. As a producer, he is in the rare ranks of the likes of “Mad” Mike Banks, Carl Craig and Juan Atkins, techno producers who combine traditional musical virtuosity with unique black science-fiction views. Where so many producers have stopped and become comfortable with the styles they helped to pioneer, Dego has always pushed his music forward with vitality. This evolution is best showcased on his post-Drum & Bass label, 2000 Black .

In the incredibly codified world of electronic music, Dego sees almost no musical boundaries other than quality, and that’s exactly what he presents on his new compilation entitled The Good Good. Taking inspiration from Roy Ayers’ classic song (Ayers is even featured on the remake herein) of taking black music to the future, this compilation, at its best, is an entirely new and progressive form that freely combines jazz, funk, techno and hip hop. Witness the record’s highlight, the incredibly inventive breakbeat jazz-funk-jungle workout of Domu’s “Groovesome” that leaves the listener breathless.

2000 Black has found a perfect stateside partner for this release on Planet E. This works on many levels, especially given their shared open-minded approach to combining jazz and techno (Dego even remixed Innerzone Orchestra’s classic “Bug in the Bass Bin”) — and anything else that catches their fancy. More info at Planet-e.net. Also Carl Craig is doing another five-hour DJ set, this time at Motor on Saturday, March 3, with Mike “Agent X” Clark in the lounge: Motordetroit.com, 3515 Caniff, Hamtramck, 313-369-0090.

ANN ARBOR ELECTRIFIES

Recently, an all-too-rare barrage of live electronic music hit Ann Arbor. Leading the blast was the three-year anniversary on Feb. 7 for Intuit-Solar at the Blind Pig. That’s where Jon Layne used to host his weekly Solar events, something missing from the Ann Arbor nightlife for quite awhile (heightened further by the closing of the Nectarine Ballroom due to drug-related allegations in a liquor license inspection). Highlights of the party included an entirely packed and energetic dance floor. DJ Godfather released so much energy the crowd didn’t know how to cope: that is to say, many girls (and a guy) started stripping down to their thongs. Then Pu-Bahs took the stage and lit the night up when Bileebob joined the group onstage dressed as a human oven mitt for their new smash, “Plasticine Jean.” Missing in action was DJ Assault, who apparently got lost and ended up in Howell; Godfather’s (who just did a remix for Fat Boy Slim) boy DJ Technique stood in. Intuit-Solar now has the fourth floor of Clutch Cargo’s on Saturdays weekly, and Dean “Major Malfunction” Syst3m has the third floor.

Just a few days after on Feb. 9, a highbrow affair known as iMedia 1901 took the Media Union at North Campus by storm. With all sorts of technological geekery going on, computers and high-tech visuals were everywhere; a student-oriented, wine-and-cheese crowd experienced the live stylings of Bill Vanloo (props for doing his own visuals too; watch out for this guy), Tomorrowland, Nate Deyonker, Maersk (Sharif) with Heart & Hand (Jeremy Kallio) and later with Ed Luna’s dance troupe inside a womblike parachute. Some interesting stuff, and free to all.

A few weeks later, on Feb. 21, the granddaddies of anonymous electronics, the Residents, performed at the Michigan Theater for an enthusiastic crowd ranging from balding Ralph heads to neophyte goths, all there to see the kings of the freak-show cabaret stage show. This show was a selection of their best-loved tracks: bad childhood memories and a distorted, acid-tinged view of pop culture filtered through their sick electronics and surrealist world view, all set to stunningly realized self-made films and a fantastically outfitted stage show. To this day, they still set a standard for a live electronics show that even people with the budget of Daft Punk can’t top. Let’s keep the strange flowing through Ann Arbor. ...

OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD

With the buzz on for the Wizard at the State Theatre tomorrow (Thursday) night, don’t forget to check him out at Record Time Roseville at 5 p.m. and being interviewed on Liz Copeland’s show just after midnight. Word also has it that he’ll be making a guest appearance on WJLB-FM as the Wizard this Thursday. Phew, that guy is so busy he must have clones ... more info on axisrecords.com.

E-mail Pitch’d at bmg@monkey.org

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