Carl Craig is one of the founders of techno. Under a stream of aliases (most notably, Paperclip People, 69, and Innerzone Orchestra), he is arguably the genre’s most famous practitioner. Hailing from Detroit, he was to the manner born. His powerful, perfectly measured beats, varying influences from jazz, soul and world music reflect a city made famous as one America’s industrial heartlands. But where Detroit now decays into glorified squalor (its many derelict sites helping to spawn a new artistic movement called ‘ruin porn’), Craig’s brand of music remains as robust as ever. ‘Ruin Porn’ was mentioned in a recent Guardian interview with Craig, in which he says something instructive about the sound he produces. He describes his experience of working in a printing shop years ago (whilst simultaneously running his own record label) as inspirational: “The machines had a rhythm and I would continue that rhythm when I got home to write.” How many people in printing shops find their work inspirational? Craig is a man who can mine fine harmonies from a range of otherwise discordant and neglected sound. Through repetition and neat arrangement, these sounds collect in high voltage tracks like ‘Throw’ (Paperclip People) and ‘Red Light’ (CC), or gentler, but no less effective rhythms like ‘A Wonderful Life’ and ‘At Les’
In addition to this, Craig is also expert at remixing tracks. Two outstanding examples of this are his remixes of Beanfield’s ‘Tides’ and Inner City’s ‘Good Life’. Craig toured extensively with the latter. He is also closely affiliated with another legendary dance act, Derrick May. Craig often cites May (also from Detroit) as a strong influence. This is a man who has been at the heart of dance music, almost since it began. His live sets are highly recommended. At Tripod this evening, he offers a marvellous way to kick off St. Patrick’s Day festivities.