Carl Craig - Sessions With Carl
Friday, 14 March 2008
Carl Craig is the virtuoso of contemporary electronica. Instead of being confined by ‘Detroit techno’, he’s redefined it as a musical universe. The omnipresent Craig has ventured into avant-garde jazz (The Detroit Experiment), ambient soundtracks (More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art) and, before the pack, Euro electro (Landcruising). And, while prolific, he’s maintained a quality control – and level of innovation – that astonishes even John Digweed.
Last year Craig was nominated for a Grammy as ‘best remixer’. It appeared that the US music industry, which has long neglected Detroit’s (mostly African-American) electronic revolutionaries, was finally recognising one of its auteurs.
Alas, Craig’s post-minimal take on Junior Boys’ Like A Child was overlooked in favour of Benny Benassi’s pedestrian mix (Public Enemy’s Bring The Noise).
Yet he harbours no bitterness towards the Italian electro-punk.
“I don’t have anything against Benny,” he says easily. “That’s just the way it goes.”
He’s far from despondent. Craig experienced the glamour of the Grammies but was really in his element at the nomination ceremony the day prior, rubbing shoulders with Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Timbaland cohort Jimmy Douglass. His Grammy-nominated remix is included on a new double-compilation, Sessions, issued by !K7, the German concern behind his DJ Kicks.
Craig has gathered various remixes for the studio showcase, albeit not the one he did for ex-Sugababe Siobhan Donaghy, a leftfield pop princess. He also offers an alternative version of the Paperclip People club classic Throw and revisits Innerzone Orchestra’s Bug In The Bass Bin, formative drum n bass, while airing his very ‘now’ Tres Demented material.
He admits that, though he’d discussed Sessions for a spell, its release is opportune considering the Grammy buzz. It’s surprising that a producer of Craig’s stature should invest so much time into remixes, which aren’t lucrative. His view is different.
“It’s a collaboration,” he says. “I can’t necessarily say that I’m the greatest collaborator in the studio with other people. I like really getting into my thing and doing what I do. With remixing, it gives me the opportunity to collaborate on some tracks that I either have respect for or that I’m just interested in.
“I learn something all the time, learn something new about production technique, and [I learn about] the possibilities and what I thought wasn’t possible that other people are able to do. I think that it’s really important to have those options.
“When you get lost in your own music, then you can lose perspective of how to make records in a different way.”
Craig, ever the individualist, artfully reinvents himself with each album. In 2006 he alluded to a forthcoming “secret project” that would be “completely out.” Is there a progress report-
“It’s still secret,” he says slyly. “Of course, it’s coming along – it’s just still secret.”
WHO: Carl Craig
WHAT: Sessions through !K7/Inertia
WHEN: Out now