02 October 2003

A crucial point raised at TWANBOC: "Chicago? Short of one reissue on Rephlex, this music has been pretty much ignored. There was the ABSOLUTELY AMAZING "Influences" Compilation which came out on WARP..."
There is a huge gap in the market for a quality, organized re-issue program for classic Chicago House and Detroit Techno. Most other genres, from reggae to psychedelia to krautrock, have their benefactors, who diligently unearth forgotten b-sides, lost albums etc, lovingly re-master them and put out some attractive looking CDs with sleeve notes, unpublished photos and original artwork. Even Library music, that previously inaccessible area of vinyl fetishism, has seen a wave of CD collections in recent times.
Now, in my own personal sphere of friends and acquaintances (in the real world), I'm the most knowledgeable person on Detroit Techno that I know. Yet I barely knew 10% of the choons listed in TWANBOC's Detroit list a while back. Fascinating to read his comments, but short of spending years searching and hundreds of pounds, I'm not gonna get to hear 'em, which is very frustrating. Why isn't some enterprising label out there licencing all this stuff and putting out good CD comps?
There have been several 'Classic' House CDs over the years, but it's always the same handful of standards. One of the most recent comes from the surprisingly good budget 'Music Club' series. Called "The Original Chicago House Classics", it features full-length cornerstones like "Your Love", "House Nation"and "Baby Wants To Ride". Points are deducted for using that awful re-hash of "Can You Feel It" (y'know, the one with Martin Luther King samples), but earns respect for including lesser known triumphs like Robert Owen's "Bring Down The Walls".
Back in 2001, Unisex Recordings issued "Chicago Trax- The Original Sound Of House", which promised to be the first in a series "dedicated to brushing the dust off" some lost choons. Including Phuture b-side "Phuture Jacks", Virgo's "Do You Know Who You Are" and Hercules' inspirational "7 Ways To Jack", this was what I'd been waiting for. Unfortunately, I've yet to see any further installments.
Detroit Techno has faired even worse. I can't think of any decent collections since "Retro Techno/Detroit definitive" back in the early '90s. There've been a few artist-specific collections, like the Derrick May "Innovator" one (itself now a deleted rarity), "Classics" by Model 500, even "Interface - The Roots Of Techno" by Juan's earlier project Cybotron. The "True People" compilation is the most impressive for gathering all the main players in one place, but I can't help feeling that this doesn't really reflect the greatest work of those concerned.
Frankly, the current situation is a disgrace. Something needs to be done about it now!