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Carl Craig is described as a creative visionary, a groundbreaking electronic music icon, an inspirational artist, an esteemed Grammy-nominated composer, a world-class DJ and an ambassador for his native Detroit. Yet the common thread that runs through Craig’s broad musical canon and creative projects is a resounding fascination with futurism. Carl Craig has cultivated a unique path as an artist, entrepreneur and civic leader, guided by his tendency toward forward
Craig released his first track in 1989. One of his earliest mentors and first collaborator was Derrick May, whose imprint Craig also released some of his early music on.
In 1991, wanting pure artistic freedom, Craig set up his own label Planet-E and released ‘4 Jazz Funk Classics’, under the moniker 69, as the label’s first release. From here his wild exploration of sound intensified…
A Gemini true to form, with a mind that never sits still, Craig has released a diverse range of experimental and groundbreaking music under a plethora of aliases including 69, BFC, C2, Innerzone Orchestra (‘Bug in the Bassbin’ was credited as the spark that inspired the evolution of drum‘n’bass), No Boundaries, Psyche, Paperclip People, Tres Demented, Urban Tribe and many more. He has also produced albums for the legendary Detroit Jazz collective Tribe as well as orchestrator / pianist Francesco Tristano and French producer Agoria.
Live he has collaborated with Les siècles orchestra at Cité de la Musique in Paris. A meeting of techno and classical music, the concert was described as “historical”, Craig went on to repeat the formula in Milan and Germany. He regularly performs live as experimental outfit Trio with Moritz Von Oswald and Francesco Tristano, sometimes as Narod Niki alongside Villalobos, Luciano, Richie Hawtin, Zip and others, and regularly does part live and part DJ with Luciano. Additionally he’s
taken to occasionally bringing keyboardists like Mike Banks (UR), Amp Fiddler and Tristano into the DJ booth with him for special one-off gigs. He also improvised live to an Andy Warhol film at the Unsound Festival in New York. In 2011, Craig went live as 69 for the first time ever, fusing masks, darkness and the music of 69, Craig created 69’s own entity and previewed the show to a few select festivals and clubs around the world.
His remixes discography boasts some of the most desirable names in music – LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Junior Boys (nominated for a Grammy Award), Gavin Russom & Delia Gonzalez, Theo Parrish, Tori Amos, Can, Goldfrapp, Friendly Fires, Caribou, Tiga, Unkle, Yello and more.
As well as an outlet for his own productions, his Planet-E imprint has given a home to a wide range of Detroit-based artists including Francesco Mora Catlett, Naomi Daniel, Flexitone, Jason Hogans, Kenny Larkin, Monty Luke, Moodyman, Mike Agent X, Oliverwho Factory, Ezana Harris, Recloose, Reference, Kevin Saunderson, Big Tone, Tribe, Urban Tribe, and Chaz Vincent.
Staying strong to his Detroit roots, where he still lives today, Craig helped launched the Detroit Electronic music Festival in 2000 and remains a strong force at the festival today. He has also created and launched his non-profit 501-C3 Carl Craig Foundation: “The concept is to find ways to re-educate kids about what’s interesting musically that you can’t get on the radio… To develop a new music scene that follows the legacy of Detroit music being diverse and interesting, to spot out the most talented young musicians coming out of high school and lend small financial grants to encourage music education at a higher level.”
When Craig explains his philosophy, his wry sense of humor seeps into his explanations of far-reaching concepts that merge worlds together. “I have a very special career. When I feel that I’m tired of going on the road I can go in the studio. When I’m tired of concentrating on the studio I can go on the road. I can work with concert pianists, jazz musicians or rock guys. Very few people
have that range of interests. Very few people juggle a career that they choose specifically.” No one else can pull it all together quite like Carl Craig.
"I don’t make ?music for the masses to dance to, i make music for the small majority that listens." —Kenny Dixon Jr
Kenny Dixon Jr. aka Moodymann has emerged as one of Detroit's most enigmatic and most successful house producers. Perfecting a unique blend of samples and original instrumentation KDJ's music is different and original than typical house. Drenched in soul, funk and jazz KDJ gathers the full force of his musical influences and recontextualizes them within the house genre. His material ranges from the slow and moody to the up beat and energetic. Another quality label that keeps the spirit of good soulfull housemusic alive.
KDJ is Kenny Dixon jr - aka Moodyman.Moodyman combines classic soul and jazz
samples, low-slung bass in many of his tracks that always manage to create a captivating scope of sounds keeping you hooked in the groove from start to finish. This style of strong soul and blues-tinged tech house music is able to combine theoriginal disco sound with the more deeper approach to production that has been mo-re apparent with the producers of Detroit.
The production and musician skills that he retains put him in a class of his own with
many trying to mimic his style but not quite managing to reach the same emotion that is always apparent in his tracks. In his own words he best describes his music on the track 'Radio' from his 1998 album Mahogany Brown.. "I don't make music for the masses to dance to, i make not one for taking the limelight but preferring the music to take the exposure and do the talking. He is also known to have quite a controversial political philosophy and racial agenda with some comparing his attitudes to that usually associated with Rappers and thus regarding him as an outspoken voice in the normally non-confrontational world of electronic dance music. But the roots of this resistant spirit of Dixon's partisan-like thinking that drives him and other Detroit- born musicians to the city's environment - was shaped by 1943 and 1967's riots and their shattering aftermath.
The mysterious Moodymann began his production career in the early '90s, and set up his independent label KDJ Records in 1994 with the first release being the Moody Trax EP and then following up with the great and now classic releases like "The Day We Lost the Soul" which is a tribute to one of KDJ's hero's Marvin Gaye. "I Can't Kick This Feelin When It Hits", "Don't Be Misled", "Forevernevermore", "Dem Young Sconies EP"and many more..
Dixon is also part of the '3 Chairs', a collaboration of three of Detroit's heavyweight house producers - Theo Parrish, Kenny "Moodymann" Dixon Jr, and Rick Wilhite. These guys have been working together on many projects over the past few years and all sharing the ability to produce their unique Gritty Soul, Jazz, Blues sound.. In the late '90s, they released for a pair of 12"s that were billed as 3 Chairs, with each track being credited individually - it was when Malik Pittman was added to the group in 2003 on the release "All Over", they began crediting the tracks to the whole crew. This notion remains for their first album, also presented as a complete group release.
While he may frustrate people with his refusal to be interviewed and insistence on reminding people of the genre's origins, it is a certainty that his music is ground braking, and the brilliance of his unique underground sound appeals to all ears weather they be Black, White, Yellow, the result is the same: soulful personal music from the heart.
DJ Minx was inspired to spin by the famed Music Institute in Detroit. Her style is described as funky, powerful house, with a splash of grace. For two years, Minx engineered and hosted "Deep Space Radio", an electronic music show on Detroit’s WGPR radio station. The show was heralded by the innovators of techno music: "Magic" Juan Atkins, Kevin “Reese” Saunderson, Eddie Fowlkes, and Derrick May. She played mixes by Kenny "Moodyman" Dixon and Stacy Pullen as well as the show's helmsmen. She conducted live interviews on the show including one which featured Roger Sanchez as he worked on a track at "Strong Room Studios" in England. She also voluntarily did a weekly radio program at the University of Canada on CJAM 91.5 FM called "Steamy Windows" that featured house music by various local and international artists.
As a resident of world-renowned Club Motor, Minx opened for Basement Jaxx, Doc Martin, Cajmere, and Afrika Bambatta just to name a few. She has also played alongside Richie Hawtin, John Acquiviva, and Timmy Regisford at various venues across the country. In December 1996, Minx created Women on Wax, a collective of lady DJs from the Metro Detroit area. From then on, she began working with promoters and DJs all over the country, and helped to solidify the career of several top female DJs and songstresses.
Being a featured performer during the first Detroit Electronic Music Festival (D.E.M.F.) in May 2000 had an incredible impact on Minx's career. Since then, she's played at Tresor in Berlin, Toronto's Film Lounge, Club Ohm in Portland, Deep Sugar in Baltimore, Club Air in Japan and has been featured on Much Music's Electric Circus weekly television Dance Show. Minx has shared her love of music and DJ skills with massive crowds in Paris, Berlin, Cancun, New York, Switzerland, Tokyo, Spain, Belgium and numerous other domestic and international locales. She has shared the stage with Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Mike Huckaby, Eddie Fowlkes, Juan Atkins, Moodyman, DJ Spen, Karizma, DJ Spinna, Terrence Parker, Delano Smith, Magda, Kyle Hall, and many more.
Minx began producing music in 2001 and established her own record label called Women On Wax Recordings. Wildly successful, her label has served as a vehicle to present many talented artists and producers to the world including Diamondancer, Pirahnahead, and Diviniti. Because of her growing influence on the electronic music scene, she was asked to be a featured presenter at the “Roots of Techno Conference,” held at Indiana University in 2006. During the conference she shared her wealth of knowledge on topics such as the history of electronic music in Detroit, efficiently running a record label, and techniques for being a successful DJ.
Currently on the Connected Artists roster, Detroit’s “First Lady of Wax” is working on her 20th release on W. O.W. Recordings. Minx has also expanded her musical majesty by creating a sub-imprint of the label called W.O.W. B.A.M. (Women On Wax Bangin’ Ass Music). Besides releases on both of her labels, she also has releases on multiple other labels, including Minus’ “A Walk In the Park,” which was remixed by Josh Wink, Matthew Dear, Magda and Ricardo Villalobos. Minx also produced a track called “Undaground Boogie,” which was featured in Richie Hawtin’s DE9 Transitions mix, and she has done remixes for Trisomie 21 (Paris), Soiree Records (Detroit), West End Records (New York), Code Red (Baltimore), Psychostasia Recordings (Detroit), United Music (Paris), Whasdat Music (Detroit), Liberate (Chicago), and Fast Forward (Atlanta). Minx also partnered with Jerry the Cat to establish Skyloft Productions, where the two work together to produce music for various artists in multiple genres.
Having been successful in DJing, producing, and managing flourishing record labels, one can only imagine the new heights that Minx will explore in the years to come.