Release Date: Jun 17, 2013
Record label: Ministry of Sound
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
Since first appearing as Derrick May’s protégé in 1990, Carl Craig has charted a passionately idiosyncratic path beyond his techno DJ-producer origins, but remaining fiercely loyal to his Detroit home. Typically, asked to join the likes of Weatherall, Peterson and Kevorkian in Ministry’s Masterpiece series, he’s painstakingly conceived a uniquely personal concept which, for the first time, includes creating new music for the project. Starting with Kyle Hall & Kero’s startling Zug Island, Disc One (Aspiration) collates music Craig’s playing now, straddling machine-funk, electro and hi-tech soul, with names including Huxley, Loco Dice, Technasia, Ben Sims and Egyptian Lover, plus his own 69-and-soaring disco-tech mix of Tom Trago’s Use Me Again.
The DJ-mix CD format has a lot less cachet than it once did, but Ministry of Sound's Masterpiece series tweaks the formula enough to get fans of Detroit techno icon Carl Craig excited. The three-disc set leads with a selection of what Craig currently spins. The second is a look back at the songs that inspired him, while the third focuses on new material.
Dance music fans are notorious for their capricious tastes, but Detroit techno has never fallen out of fashion. Maybe it’s because along with the first few waves of Chicago house it formed the basis for the entire form, and because it’s never been overexposed via car ads or rock musicians briefly reinventing themselves as “electronica” artists. But there’s also something simply aesthetically perfect about the style: minimalist and dark and, when it’s executed well, really hard to imagine as improvable in any way.
Masterpiece is one of Ministry Of Sound's most ambitious projects, giving legendary artists a chance to stretch out over three discs. You could say it's sheer hubris at a time when many question the necessity of mix CDs in the first place. Masterpiece intends to offer something more substantial than your average compilation, but still, how often will you really listen to a three-disc mix? Detroit magnate Carl Craig sidesteps this predicament by tweaking the format a bit—only one disc on his edition of Masterpiece is a conventional DJ set.