More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art is Carl Craig’s second album under his own name. It included tracks that had already become classics, like “At Les” and his remix of Maurizio’s “Domina.” Another classic “As Time Goes By (Sitting Under A Tree)” is also included. This features vocals by Sarah Gregory, lead singer of the ’80s groups Repetition and Allez Allez and wife of Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17. However, it and a few other of tracks were available on CD only and 1997 was still pre-CDJs I believe — well the more DJ-friendly versions anyway — leading me to opine that they might not be heard on the dance floors of that time. A typical crate/digger vinyl junkie response. Regardless of the minutiae this is a great album and if you don’t already have it — on vinyl or CD — please run out and snag it.

Carl Craig
More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art
Planet E/US/CD
Just after his Paperclip People long player Carl Craig unleashes a new LP under his own name. In true Craig form the album is strewn with otherworldly atmospherics and impossibly haunting strings, but still the groove is there, pushing you out onto the floor. Unfortunately, a lot of floors might not get the pleasure of some of the tracks on this album, given their presence on the CD only, but certain individuals who pick this up will be happy to stick it in the platter and drift off. Others will be happy to see the inclusion of such classic Craig tracks like “As Time Goes By” and “Suspiria” from the impossible to find Detroit label, Retroactive.

Also included is “At Les” from the Virtual Sex compilation, and Carl’s mix of Maurizio’s “Domina.” These tracks are a welcome bonus, but it’s the originals that show how gifted Cart Craig really is. Like the opener “ES-30” with its swirling intro, which mutates into the downtempo acid groove of “Televised Green Smoke.” This teases you to dance but still holds you back into the bucket seat of the command module. Seventh city enthusiasts take note that Craig also manages a masterful collaboration with old sparring partner Derrick May, called “Frustration.”

This album experiments with a host of tempos and rhythmic patterns, from mutant hip hop on “Red Lights” to the spaced-out garage of “Butterfly.” Carl Craig may well be a product of the Detroit scene, but he is no puritan, his music absorbs, mutates and enhances several genres into one distinctive sound and this is his strength. Like fellow Detroit producers Mike Banks, Derrick May and Eddie Fowlkes, Craig understands the need for depth, subtlety and groove in machine generated music. Rarely does his approach throw itself headlong into relentless aggression. Occasionally he teeters on the brink of unleashing shards of harsh sound, but tracks like “Domina” really demonstrate that techno is not rave music, not music for boys and noise, it is a true inheritor of the black music tradition, with modern European and American regional forms added on to complete the whole picture. The textures in “At Les” and “As Time Goes By” pre-date Drum Bass by several years, yet carry the codes necessary to producers like Bukem, Alex Reece and 4 Hero.

Enthusiasts of the Detroit sound are very familiar with Craig at this stage, but those out there who have never heard his name, those who pick up magazines like Spin, will really benefit from this album. It is further proof that an American market and media poised to devour techno as a European commodity should stop, take stock and catch up on the developments of the last 11 years. “More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art” is an important footnote in a Motor City generated text that is far from finished and yet to be fully understood. A classic album. Buy it as soon as it hits the shelves. Chris Orr