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Craig, Carl 1969–

Carl Craig 1969

Electronic festival founder, musician

Experimented with Electronica

Remixing As Modern-Day Songwriting

Festival Brought Fans to Detroit

Honored by Detroit

Selected discography

Sources

More than a million people flooded downtown Detroit over Memorial Day weekend in 2000. They were music lovers who had come to hear their favorite artists play the first annual Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which set the record as the largest electronic music event in history. If over a million fans came to listen to the sounds of artists like DJ Spooky, Mos Def, and the Roots, among many others, the artists themselves were there because of their allegiance to the festivals creative director, celebrated techno artist, DJ, and producer, Carl Craig.

Though acknowledged internationally as one of the genres most influential and visionary artists, Craigs music has gone relatively unheard of in his hometown. However, he has gained recognition for breaking new ground in techno by incorporating jazz, soul, hip-hop, and avant-garde music influences. Throughout his career, Craig has used an alias for each of his musical moods. He has recorded futuristic house beats under the moniker Paperclip People, Psyche has been reserved for his more ambient sounds, 69s (six-nine) recordings have a harder techno edge, and he has explored his experimental jazz tendencies with Innerzone Orchestra. According to the Washington Post, Craigs musical expression has always gone beyond the artistic purity associated with techno. Craig admitted in Billboard, Ive always had a concept of dodging boundaries.

Experimented with Electronica

Born in 1969, Craig listened to a variety of music that included Prince, the German avant-garde duo Kraftwerk, Parliament, Led Zeppelin, and the Smiths as a teen while attending Detroits Cooley High. He found great inspiration in the music of Motown legend Stevie Wonder. Stevie just did it, Craig said in an interview with MUSE online. He was bad; he was doing techno before it was techno. Stevie just had it. As a teen Craig fiddled around making music on his guitar, and was exposed to the dance-music scene by a cousin who was doing lighting for parties around Detroit. He first became interested in electronic music while listening to Detroit techno pioneer Derrick Mays radio show on WJLB. Craig experimented with recording on dual-deck cassette players until he convinced his parents to spring for a synthesizer and sequencer. He studied electronic music, including artists such as Morton Subotnick, Wendy Carlos, and Pauline Oliveros.

In an electronics course, Craig passed along a tape of his homemade productions to a friend of Mays. May was taken with Craigs work and invited him to re-record one track, Neurotic Behavior. Craig did not own a drum machine, so the tracks original mix was completely beatless, but inspired nonetheless. As the British became solidly fascinated with Detroit techno music, May invited Craig to join his Rhythim Is Rhythim DJ group on its 1989 European tour. Craig subsequently lent his hand to Mays classic Strings of Life and the Rhythim Is Rhythim single, The Beginning. While on the tour, he also recorded several of his own tracks at Belgiums R&S Studios, some of which were released on the Crackdown

At a Glance

Born on May 22, 1969, in Detroit, MI; married Hannah Sawtell; children: one.

Career: Joined Derrick Mays Rhythim Is Rhythim DJ group, 1989; co-founded RetroActive label, 1990 (label dissolved); founded Planet E Communications record label, 1991; signed with Blanco Y Negro; released Landcruising, 1995; released More Songs about Food and Revolutionary Art on Planet E, 1996; organized and served as creative director of Detroit Electronic Music Festival and Ford Focus/Detroit Electronic Music Festival, 2000-01; released Designer Music: The Remixes (Volume One), 2000.

Awards: Best Label Award for Planet E and Best Remix Award for The Climax (Basic Channel Remake), Musik Und Maschine Awards, 2001; honored by Detroits mayor for contributions to music and the Detroit community, 2001.

Addresses: Record Company Planet E Communications, P.O. Box 27218, Detroit Ml 48207. Website- http://www.planet-e.net

EP that Craig recorded as Psyche on Mays Transmat record label.

Craig and partner Damon Booker founded RetroActive Records in 1990. Between shifts at a copy shop, Craig recorded tracks in his parents basement, and from 1990 to 1991 he released six slick singles on RetroActive under his own name and the monikers BFC and Paperclip People. A falling out with Booker led to RetroActives demise, but Craig wasted no time and founded his own Planet E Communications to record a deliberately lo-fi and funky EP called 4 Jazz Funk Classics, which he released under the name 69. Craigs work during the rest of 1991 bounced from hip-hop to techno. His 1992 single, Bug in the Bassbin, which he recorded as Innerzone Orchestra, was considered an early influence on the British drum n bass and jungle genresDJs and producers played the 33-rpm single at 45-rpms to create a ready-made, high-speed beat. His Paperclip People release Throw showcased Craigs disco and funk influences.

Remixing As Modern-Day Songwriting

In the past, remixing was simply layering some percussion over a track and maybe adding a few samples, Craig said in an interview with Billboard. Now, it seems as though the art of remixing has morphed into an almost completely new method of songwriting. Though he turns down more remix opportunities than hes offered, he made his mark in 1994 on the music of Tori Amos in a ten-minute rendition of her song God, and on songs by Maurizio, La Funk Mob, and others. The Amos remix led to Craigs first deal with a major label and he signed with the Blanco y Negro European imprint of Warner Bros. Records. Landcruising, Craigs subsequent first full-length release, exposed his broad range and vision to a market far wider than hed known before. The swell of popularity led to R&S Records re-releasing 69s The Sound of Music, a compilation of two previously released EPs.

Craigs 1996 single with Paperclip People, The Floor, released on Britains Ministry of Sound label, was so complemented by a grooving bassline and disco sample that it found favor in many house-music clubs. Craig began to be recognized more for his broad vision and drifted from his Detroit-techno contemporaries. He became increasingly uncomfortable putting the Detroit-techno label on his music, and opted to call it urban or soul if it need be labeled at all, he told the Washington Post. Craig released arguably his most important full-length collection, More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art, on Planet E in 1997.

In 1999 Craig released Innerzone Orchestras Programmed, and played a number of very well-received dates with what Billboard called the free jazz meets techno group. Craig remixed live instrumentation by former Sun Ra drummer Francisco Mora, jazz keyboardist Craig Taborn, and bassist Paul Randolph, and added vocals and digital enhancement. The result, according to Billboard critic Amanda Nowinski, was 21st-century jazz whose roots are grounded in the past but technologically enhanced. The release, she continued, signifies the aesthetic maturity of an artist whose training began in the early days of techno. Citing what experimental artists like Sun Ra, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane did with jazz, Craig told Billboard, You need to know the history in order to learn and develop the future.

Craig showcased an extensive collection of his remixes from the previous eight years in 2000s Designer Music: The Remixes (Volume One). Rolling Stone music critic Pat Blashill wrote that Craig reworked the music of such artists as R&Bs Incognito, Belgian Euro-disco act Telex, Ron Trent, and Italian synth-pop/disco artist Alexander Robotnik with the discipline of a gene splicer. The releases standout piece was Craigs rewiring of Detroit techno pioneer Kevin Saundersons 1988 anthem, Good Life, renamed Buenda Vida on Designer Music.

Festival Brought Fans to Detroit

In 2000 Craig served as creative director for his brain child, the first Detroit Electronic Music Festival. He used his influence in the music industry to get big names to perform, and expected a turnout of maybe 200,000 to 300,000 over the course of three days. His estimate was wrongover a million dance-music fans flocked to downtown Detroit to listen to acts on four stages. Though national and international acts performed, Craigs emphasis was on Detroit talent. The festival instantly catapulted Motowns techno artists from almost total anonymity in their own hometown to front-page news in the local papers, according to writer Mike Rubin in Rolling Stone. It was definitely a feeling of vindication for all the Detroit-based artists that have been in the business for the past ten or 15 years, Craig told Billboard.

The second annual festival in 2001 was even bigger than the first. The world-class artist roster, which included Kid Koala, Mix Master Mike, and De La Soul, still emphasized Detroit talent, with performances by Stacey Pullen, Kenny Larkin, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson, among many others. Eighty artists played on four stages. The crowd grew and downtown hotels were packed full of foreign tourists. Ford Motor Company and Miller Genuine Draft beer, honing in on the festivals prime promotional value, sponsored the event and it was renamed the Ford Focus/Detroit Electronic Music Festival, much to the chagrin of fans, who lamented the festivals commercialization.

In an abrupt turn, festival organizer Carol Marvin fired Craig days before the festival for very murky reasons, according to Rubin in Rolling Stone. A subsequent outcry and e-mail campaign flooded Marvins inbox and those of higher-ups at Ford and J. Walter Thompson, Fords advertising company. Ford responded by claiming it was not the corporate monster you worry about, according to the Wall Street Journal. Craig struck back by suing Marvin for breach of contract.

Honored by Detroit

Despite the controversy, Craig was validated when, on the final day of the festival, he was honored by Detroits Mayor Dennis W. Archer. Just as the second DEMF was coming to a close, Craig accepted a special commendation from the mayor that recognized his founding role in the festival and Detroit music. Craig has endeared himself to an international audience of electronic music lovers with his artistic vision, intellectual curiosity, and his willingness to identify with and promote the work of other artists, the mayors proclamation read. He has. enhanced the image of the city of Detroit

Craigs vision extended far into the future. He told Code magazine, Its about making your mark and leaving something behind for the generations to come, so they can expand on the concepts and ideas and take them to the next level. He believed, as he told Code, that contemporary music, especially black music, is just so stagnant. Its so focused on materialism . Chasing money, being greedy . theres just no future in it. But, he continued, he understood his calling: To get people to understand what it means to go beyond the norm and push the boundaries. Someone has to stick his neck out and take that chance. The way I see it, if that person isnt me, then whos it gonna be? In 2001, Planet E celebrated its ten-year anniversary. Craig and wife and business partner Hannah Sawtell were expecting their first child.

Selected discography

Landcruising, Blanco Y Negro, 1995.

Stevie Knows, Planet E, 1995.

More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art, SSR, 1996.

Intergalactic Beats, Planet E, 1992.

DJ Kicks, !K7, 1996.

Acid Tunes, Nova Tekk, 1997.

House Party 013: A Planet E Mix, Next Era, 1999.

Designer Music: The Remixes, Vol. 1, Planet E, 2000.

Onsumothasheeat, Shadow, 2001.

Problemz/The Truth (vinyl 12), Planet E.

The Climax (original mix and Basic Channel Reshape mix) (vinyl 12), Planet E.

As 69

4 Jazz Funk Classics (vinyl EP), Planet E, 1991.

Sound on Sound (CD), released with R&S Records.

As Paperclip People

Remake (vinyl 12), Planet E.

Throw/Remake (remix) (vinyl 12), Planet E.

The Floor (vinyl EP), Planet E, 1996.

Secret Tapes of Dr. Eich (CD), Planet E.

Steam (vinyl 12), Planet E.

For My Peepz (EP), Planet E.

As Innerzone Orchestra

Bug in the Bass Bin (vinyl EP), Planet E, 1992.

Programmed (LP/CD), Planet E, 1999.

People Make the World Go Round (Carl Craig and Kenny Dixon Jr. remixes) (vinyl 12), Planet E.

People Make the World Go Round (Jaydee and Lacksidaisycal remixes) (vinyl 12), Planet E.

Sources

Books

Larkin, Colin, editor, Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Muze UK Ltd., 1998.

Periodicals

Billboard, July 17, 1999, p. 29; August 5, 2000, p. 34.

Code, October 2000, p. 28.

Rolling Stone, September 28, 2000, p. 60; July 5, 2001, p. 40.

Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2001, p. B2.

Washington Post, August, 30, 2000, p. C5.

Online

All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (July 10, 2001).

MUSE Online, http://www.muse.ie/archive/icon/carl_craig.html (September 6, 2001).

Planet E Communications, http://www.planet-e.net (August 22, 2001).

Brenna Sanchez

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Craig, Carl

Carl Craig

Techno artist

Homemade Tape

Founded Two Labels

Instigator of Jungle

Back to Cadillac

Critically Acclaimed

Selected discography

Sources

Techno music sustains a particularly unique Detroit music legacy. Like its predecessor, the Motown sound, techno was born underground in makeshift studios and basements in some of the grittier parts of the city. Both musical genres came as a result of a dedicated few who channeled their personal visions into aural innovation. And techno, like early Sixties R&B, draws upon a rich array of African-American musical traditions. However, the artists that Detroit techno produced, Carl Craig among them, remain far more famous abroad than in their own city, and their heady, almost intellectualized sound has failed to find any mass, MTV-viewing audience.

As with that of his turntable peers, Craigs music rests somewhere between dance-club beats and avant-garde composition, andtheone-timeteentechno prodigy was the first among a new younger wave of DJs/recording artists to sign with a major label. In an interview with Urb magazine s Tim Barr, New York producer Joey Beltram called Craig atrue innovator. He has his own sound and his own identity. You hear other peoples records and you can tell theyve been listening to his stuff. There just isnt anybody else like him.

Craig, who records under the aliases Paperclip People, 69, Psyche, and BFC, as well as his own name, is several years younger than most of Detroits more celebrated techno artists. Born in the early 1970s, Craig grew up on Detroits west side and attended the Cooley High immortalized in the Seventies movie of the same name. In his formative years, he was as much enamored of white alternative musicincluding groups like Bauhaus and the Smithsas he was the current and past Motown sounds and Prince. He also loved the cool metallic sounds of German avant-garde act Kraftwerk, which he discovered at the age of twelve. When Craig was a few years older, he began accompanying his cousin, a lighting technician, to jobs at dance clubs. One such venue was a Detroit discotheque called Cheeks, a legendary draw in the early-to mid-Eighties; there Craig witnessed the power of the star DJ, observing Cheeks mixmaster, Jeff Mills, play European disco tracks intermixed with the first rap records of the decade.

Homemade Tape

Craig also became a participant in the burgeoning techno scene, which took off in the mid-Eighties helmed by a trio of young DetroitersDerrick May, Kevin Saun-derson, and Juan Atkins. At private loft parties and techno nights at large city clubs, hundreds danced themselves into group bliss with the help of the thumping, hypnotic tracks mixed by these three, and by the others who followed. Inspired, Craig borrowed recording equipment and began experimenting in his bedroom. He made a tapewithout any beats since he didnt yet have a drum machineand then took it to the home of Derrick May after simply finding out where he lived. Craig was just seventeen, and May was on his way out the door to catch a plane to Europe, but gave him a minute. He told Craig to work on it some more, which he did, and Craig brought it back.

May then took Craig into the recording studio to record a track called Neurotic Behaviour, andanother song entitled Elements (recorded under the tag Psyche) was included on the Virgin Records compilation Detroit Techno II. By this time, technos Detroit epicenter was the Music Institute, a downtown Detroit club that turned away throngs every weekend. In the spring of 1989 Craig, still a teenager, went to London with Mays Rhythim Is Rhythim DJ group. It was like a big thing for me to be in London, Craig told Mixmag. Tony Marcus, in a club, this was like a dream, I think its kind of where I caught the bug. He liked the city so much he stayed another six months, and would make it his intermittent home for several more years. Craig still remained tied to Detroit, however, and continued his collaboration with May. His mentors Transmat and Fragile labels released Craigs another two singles, Crackdown (also recorded under the moniker Psyche) and Galaxy (recorded as BFC), both in late 1989.

For the Record

Born c. 1970, in Detroit, MI.

Joined Derrick Mays Rhythim Is Rhythim DJ group, 1989; co-founded RetroActive label, 1990 (label dissolved); worked in a copy shop for a time; founded Planet E Communications (record label), 1991; signed with Blanco Y Negro (a United Kingdom subsidiary of Warner Brothers); released Landcruising, 1995; released More Songs about Food and Revolutionary Art on Planet E, 1996.

Addresses: Home Detroit, MI. Record company Planet E Communications, 139 Cadillac Square, Suite 601, Detroit, MI 48226.

Founded Two Labels

The following year, Craig co-founded a Detroit-based record label called RetroActive. He worked in a copy shop to make ends meet, though he was already gaining a reputation as the boy genius of the scene. In a rudimentary studio in his parents basement, Craig created and engineered the RetroActive sound. That was a good time, Carl recalled of the era in the Urb interview. Nobody had expectations that I conform in a certain way. At heart, I was just making music for myself. In time, conflicts within the tight-knit techno community severed Craigs ties with his RetroActive partner and even with Maythough the two later reconciled, and Craig still refers to him as a profound influence.

In 1991, Craig founded his own label, Planet E Communications, whose first release was the EP Four Jazz Funk Classics. The records title is homage to a similarly-named album from Throbbing Gristle, an avant-garde industrial act fronted by former Psychic TV instigator Genesis P. Orridgeyet another of Craigs startling musical inspirations. Another Craig record, Oscillator, released around the same time under the moniker Paperclip People, also broke new ground. The Paperclip People alias would serve as home for Craigs more traditional dance-club tracks.

Instigator of Jungle

What many critics consider Craigs most profound record came in 1992 under thealias lnnerzone Orchestra. Bug in a Bassbin has been credited with fertilizing the ground from which the jungle music movement germinated. (The record achieved such fame that upon its re-release a few years later, a DJ/techno magazine called Jockeyslut devoted an entire feature article to the song in homage; it included interviews with some of the most famous names in the business who had remixed versions of it.) Bug in a Bassbin and Craigs other work eventually attracted the attention of Warner Brothers, and he signed onto its United Kingdom subsidiary Blanco Y Negro. His first full-length record, Landcruising, took a long time to come to fruition before its 1995 debut, he told Barr in Urb, because he held out for a budget that would allow him to record it the way he felt it should be done.

Designed as a smooth, interlocking wholenot simply a collection of disjointed singlesLandcruising relocated techno in a shinier, glossier future, wrote Barr. During this period of his life, Craig was crisscrossing the globe for DJ gigs, from Europe to Tokyo. Landcruising catches a sense of motion and flight, wrote Mixmas. Marcus, city lights all over the world seen glittering from athousand different aeroplane windows. Landcruising, however, didnt fly with critics. Others, Craig included, also believe that the label bears some of the blame for poor sales, since they gave generously for its recording then failed to promote it enough to recoup their investment.

Back to Cadillac

By early 1997 Craig had retired from DJing, exhausted at playing countless clubs from Tokyo to Amsterdam, and somewhat disillusioned with the greed of the scene-machine. He also felt that he needed to make Detroit a more permanent home base and start recording in earnest. Its definitely more rewarding being here, Craig confessed to Raygun. Dan Sicko after he moved back and forsook the DJ gigs, even just contemplating making musicrather than to go somewhere, sit in a hotel for eight hours and try to get pumped up for something you dont know whether or not its going to be good. Becoming more settled also allowed him to look to newhorizons for inspiration. One definite influence has been former Sun Ra drummer Francisco Mora, who introduced Craig to even more outré experimental jazz percussion as well as Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Such influences found their way to Craigs second full-length LP, More Songs about Food and Revolutionar. Art, released in 1996 on Craigs Planet E label. Named in homage to a lauded Talking Heads album, the record, asserted Barr in Urb, is a tour de force, the classic example of what happens when sweat, genius and circuit-boards collide with beats, rhythms and melodies that sound like they come from a future time. The science-fiction novels Craig loved as a kid, Moras exotic meters, the futureworld of all-night techno parties held three floors underground to elude Tokyos vice police, the changing Detroit landscapeall found their way into the grooves of More Songs. Many tracks have a cinematic effect, as if Craig were composing for a movie of his own mind, wrote Barry Walters in Spin.

Critically Acclaimed

Craigs second effort also included a collaboration with May, Frustration. The influential music-industry magazine CMJ predicted More Songs to go down as the techno released of the year. Kuri Kondrak, writing for Resonance, also heaped praise upon it. More Songs combines styles from Craigs past and present in a way that breaks the mold of the traditional Detroit context while still maintaining a link with the original manifesto, Kondrak declared. Craig liked the record, too. Its my ultimate album, he Urbs Barr. Everything that I love, everything that I can listen to a hundred million times, is on there. Around the same time, Planet E also issued The Secret Tapes of Dr. Eich, a collection of his Paperclip People work, including the much-lauded Oscillator. Reviewing itfor Alternative Press, Dave Segal praised its melding ofglobular funkiness and cyborgian synth squeals.

Craig takes the visiting European journalists who come to interview him on personalized tours of the Motor City. His favorite stops include such unusual Detroit landmarks as Tyree Guytons found-art streetscape known as the Heidelberg Project, and the Eastern Market loft buildings where techno was born. Crags Planet E offices are located in downtown Detroit not far from the legendary but now defunct Music Institute. Another favorite spot is Belle Isle, the large island in the middle of the Detroit River that serves as the citys park. Teenagers still congregate on here on hot nights with their cars and elaborate mobile sound systems booming from the trunks, but when Craig crosses the bridge into the park late at night, he is reminded of the paradox of technos great fame abroad, and its failure to catch on in Detroit and America as Motown did. The city, seen from this slight distance, symbolizes that to him for the moment. People are going to recognise what is happening in this city, Craig predicted in Mixmag. We are the future and we are right here and we are not getting recognised and very time I come to this island thats kind of what I feel. Its like this power that comes, its something that hits me in my heart.

Selected discography

As Carl Craig

Landcruising, Blanco Y Negro, 1995.

More Songs about Food and Revolutionary Art, Planet E, 1997.

As BFC

Please Stand By, RetroActive, 1990.

As Psyche

Neurotic Behaviour (reissue), Art, 1993.

As 69

Four Jazz Funk Classics (EP), 1991.

As Paperclip People

The Climax, RetroActive, 1990.

Oscillator, RetroActive, 1991.

Throw, Open, 1994.

The Secret Tapes of Dr. Eich, Planet E, 1997.

As Innerzone Orchestra

Bug in a Bassbin, RetroActive/MoWax, 1992.

Sources

Periodicals

Alternative Press, April 1997.

CMJ, March 1997; April 1997.

Details, April 1997.

DJ, April 1997.

The Face, March 1997.

Jockeyslut, August/September 1996.

Mixmag, March/April 1997.

Muzik, March 1997, p. 38, p. 103.

Raygun, March 1997.

Resonance, March 1997, p. 20.

Spin, May 1997.

Sweater, May 1997.

Urb, Spring 1997, p. 50.

Vox, May 1997.

Carol Brennan

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Craig, Carl

Carl Craig

1969—

Music producer, recording artist

Music producer and DJ Carl Craig is one of the most important artists in the development of the electronic music genre. Based in Detroit, Michigan, Craig has gained international recognition for breaking new ground in techno music by incorporating jazz, soul, hip-hop, and avant-garde influences. Throughout his career he has issued music under various aliases that correspond with his musical moods, including futuristic house beats under the name Paperclip People, harder edge techno as 69, and experimental jazz works with the Inner-zone Orchestra. According to the Washington Post, "Craig's musical expression has always gone beyond the artistic purity associated with techno." Craig summarized his unique approach in Billboard, saying, "I've always had a concept of dodging boundaries."

Experimented with Electronica

Born in 1969, Craig listened to a variety of music while attending Detroit's famed Cooley High, including Prince, the German avant-garde duo Kraftwerk, Parliament, Led Zeppelin, the Smiths, and the Motown legend Stevie Wonder. Craig played guitar and was exposed to the dance-music scene by a cousin who was doing lighting for parties in the Detroit area. He first became interested in electronic music while listening to Detroit techno pioneer Derrick May's radio show on radio station WJLB. Craig experimented with recording on dual-deck cassette players until he convinced his parents to buy a synthesizer and sequencer. He began studying electronic music, including the work of artists such as Morton Subotnick, Wendy Carlos, and Pauline Oliveros.

In an electronics course, Craig passed along a tape of his homemade productions to a friend of May's. May was interested in Craig's work and invited him to re-record the track "Neurotic Behavior." Craig did not own a drum machine, so the track's original mix was completely beatless, but inspired nonetheless. As Detroit techno music developed a strong following in England and other countries, May invited Craig to join his Rhythim Is Rhythim DJ group on its 1989 European tour. Craig subsequently lent his hand to May's classic "Strings of Life" and the Rhythim Is Rhythim single "The Beginning." While on the tour, he also recorded several of his own tracks at Belgium's R&S Studios, some of which were released on the Crackdown EP that Craig recorded as Psyche on May's Transmat record label.

Craig and partner Damon Booker founded RetroActive Records in 1990. Between shifts at a copy shop, Craig recorded tracks in his parents' basement, and from 1990 to 1991 he released six slick singles on RetroActive under his own name and the monikers BFC and Paperclip People. A falling out with Booker led to RetroActive's demise, but Craig wasted no time establishing his own label, Planet E Communications. Under the Planet E banner, he recorded a deliberately lo-fi and funky EP called 4 Jazz Funk Classics, which he released under the name 69. Craig's work during the rest of 1991 bounced from hip-hop to techno. His 1992 single, "Bug in the Bass Bin," which he recorded as Innerzone Orchestra, was considered an early influence on the British drum ‘n’ bass and jungle genres. DJs and producers played the 33-rpm single at 45-rpms to create a ready-made, high-speed beat. His Paperclip People release "Throw" showcased Craig's disco and funk influences.

Gained Fame Producing Remixes

"In the past, remixing was simply layering some percussion over a track and maybe adding a few samples," Craig said in an interview in Billboard. "Now, it seems as though the art of remixing has morphed into an almost completely new method of songwriting." Craig made his mark as a remixer in 1994 with the music of Tori Amos in a ten-minute rendition of her song "God," and with songs by Maurizio, La Funk Mob, and others. The Amos remix led to Craig's first contract with a major label, and he signed with the Blanco y Negro European imprint of Warner Bros. Records. Land-cruising, Craig's first full-length release, exposed his broad range and vision to a market far wider than he had known before.

As Craig gained recognition more for his broad vision, his work and identity began to drift from his Detroit-techno roots. He became increasingly uncomfortable branding his music as Detroit techno, opting instead to call it "urban" or "soul," if it need be labeled at all, he told the Washington Post. Craig released one of his most important full-length collections, More Songs about Food and Revolutionary Art, on Planet E in 1996.

In 1999 Craig released Innerzone Orchestra's Programmed, and played a number of very well-received dates with what Billboard called the "free jazz meets techno" group. Craig remixed live instrumentation by former Sun Ra drummer Francisco Mora, jazz keyboardist Craig Taborn, and bassist Paul Randolph, and added vocals and digital enhancement. The result, according to Amanda Nowinski in Billboard, was "21st-century jazz whose roots are grounded in the past but technologically enhanced." The release, she continued, "signifies the aesthetic maturity of an artist whose training began in the early days of techno." Citing what experimental artists like Sun Ra, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane did with jazz, Craig told Billboard, "You need to know the history in order to learn and develop the future."

Craig showcased an extensive collection of his remixes from the previous eight years in Designer Music: The Remixes (2000). Craig reworked the music of such artists as R&B's Incognito, Belgian Euro-disco act Telex, Ron Trent, and Italian synth-pop/disco artist Alexander Robotnik "with the discipline of a gene splicer," according to reviewer Pat Blashill in Rolling Stone. The standout piece was "Buena Vida," Craig's rewiring of Detroit techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson's 1988 anthem, "Good Life."

At a Glance …

Born on May 22, 1969, in Detroit, MI; married Hannah Sawtell; children: one. Education: Attended Cooley High School, Detroit, MI.

Career: Music producer and DJ, 1989—; joined Derrick May's Rhythim Is Rhythim DJ group, 1989; co-founded RetroActive label, 1990 (label dissolved); founded Planet E Communications record label, 1991; signed with Blanco Y Negro; organized and served as creative director of Detroit Electronic Music Festival and Ford Focus/Detroit Electronic Music Festival, 2000-01; participated in The Detroit Experiment, a collaboration with jazz artists, 2003; launched Demon Days series of club nights in North American cities.

Awards: Best Label Award for Planet E and Best Remix Award for "The Climax (Basic Channel Remake)," Musik und Maschine Awards, 2001; honored by the City of Detroit for contributions to music and the Detroit community, 2001; Grammy Award nomination for Best Remix for remix of Junior Boys' "Like a Child," 2008.

Addresses: Office—Planet E Communications, PO Box 27218, Detroit, MI 48207.

Directed Detroit Electronic Music Festival

In 2000 Craig conceived and served as creative director for the first Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF). He used his influence in the music industry to book leading performers in the genre and expected a turnout of about 200,000 to 300,000 fans over the course of three days. His estimate was wrong—more than a million people flooded downtown Detroit over Memorial Day weekend, setting a record as the largest electronic music event in history. Though national and international acts performed, Craig's emphasis was on Detroit talent. The festival "instantly catapulted Motown's techno artists from almost total anonymity in their own hometown to front-page news in the local papers," according to writer Mike Rubin in Rolling Stone. "It was definitely a feeling of vindication for all the Detroit-based artists that have been in the business for the past ten or fifteen years," Craig told Billboard.

The second annual festival in 2001 was even bigger than the first. The world-class artist roster, which included Kid Koala, Mix Master Mike, and De La Soul, still emphasized Detroit talent, with performances by Stacey Pullen, Kenny Larkin, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson, among many others. In all, eighty artists played on four stages. The crowd grew and downtown hotels were packed full of foreign tourists. Ford Motor Company and Miller Genuine Draft beer, sensing the festival's promotional value, sponsored the event, and it was renamed the Ford Focus/Detroit Electronic Music Festival, much to the chagrin of those fans who lamented the festival's commercialization.

In an abrupt turn, however, festival organizer Carol Marvin fired Craig days before the festival for "very murky reasons," according to Rubin in Rolling Stone. A subsequent outcry and e-mail campaign flooded Marvin's inbox and those of executives at Ford and J. Walter Thompson, Ford's advertising company. Ford responded by claiming it was not "the corporate monster you worry about," according to the Wall Street Journal. Craig struck back by suing Marvin for breach of contract.

Honored by City of Detroit

Despite the controversy, Craig was vindicated to some degree when on the final day of the festival he was honored by Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer. Just as the second DEMF was coming to a close, Craig accepted a special commendation from the City of Detroit recognizing his founding role in the festival and in helping raise Detroit's music industry profile. "Craig has endeared himself to an international audience of electronic music lovers with his artistic vision, intellectual curiosity, and his willingness to identify with and promote the work of other artists," the mayor's proclamation read. "He has … enhanced the image of the city of Detroit"

In 2003 Craig collaborated with several of Detroit's best jazz musicians, including trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and percussionist Francisco Mora, on a project called the Detroit Experiment, which led to the release of a recording of the same name. In 2005 Craig was back in the techno limelight with the release of Fabric 25, his contribution to the acclaimed series of recordings curated by the London nightclub Fabric. That year, he also launched a series of club nights called Demon Days, which took place at popular nightclubs in major cities across North America. Demon Days were still taking place as of the fall of 2008. Meanwhile, Craig's prowess as a remixer was recognized by the mainstream music industry with a Grammy nomination for his reworking of the single "Like a Child" by the Junior Boys.

Awards, however, were not a priority for Craig. As he told Code magazine, "It's about making your mark and leaving something behind for the generations to come, so they can expand on the concepts and ideas and take them to the next level." He believed that contemporary music, "especially black music, is just so stagnant. It's so focused on materialism … Chasing money, being greedy … there's just no future in it…. Someone has to stick his neck out and take that chance. The way I see it, if that person isn't me, then who's it gonna be?"

Selected discography

(As Psyche) Crackdown (vinyl EP), Zomba Music/ Transmat, 1990.

(As 69) 4 Jazz Funk Classics (vinyl EP), Planet E, 1991.

Intergalactic Beats, Planet E, 1992.

(As Innerzone Orchestra) Bug in the Bass Bin (vinyl EP), Planet E, 1992.

Landcruising, Blanco Y Negro, 1995.

Stevie Knows, Planet E, 1995.

DJ Kicks, !K7, 1996.

More Songs about Food and Revolutionary Art, SSR, 1996.

(As Paperclip People) The Floor (vinyl EP), Planet E, 1996.

Acid Tunes, Nova Tekk, 1997.

House Party 013: A Planet E Mix, Next Era, 1999.

(As Innerzone Orchestra) Programmed, Planet E, 1999.

Designer Music: The Remixes, Vol. 1, Planet E, 2000.

The Detroit Experiment, Planet E, 2002.

The Album Formerly Known As…, Planet E, 2005.

Fabric 25, Fabric, 2005.

Sessions, Planet E, 2008.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, July 17, 1999, p. 29; August 5, 2000, p. 34.

Code, October 2000, p. 28.

Fader, January 19, 2007.

Remix, March 1, 2008.

Rolling Stone, September 28, 2000, p. 60; July 5, 2001, p. 40.

SF Weekly, February 7, 2007.

Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2001, p. B2.

Washington Post, August, 30, 2000, p. C5.

Wire: Adventures in Modern Music, May 2008.

Online

Nasrallah, Dimitri, "Carl Craig: Intergalactic Beats," Exclaim, March 2008, http://www.exclaim.ca/articles/multiarticlesub.aspx?csid2=9&fid1=29999&csid1=119 (accessed November 20, 2008).

Patel, Joseph, "A History of Carl Craig," Planet E Demon Days, December 2007, http://www.demondays.com/CarlCraig.html (accessed November 20, 2008).

—Brenna Sanchez and Bob Jacobson

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Craig, Carl 1954–

CRAIG, Carl 1954


PERSONAL


Born August 1, 1954, in Tallahassee, FL; son of Walter O. (a music professor) and Ruth (a secretary; maiden name, Roper) Craig; married Angela E. Fong (an airline worker). Education: University of Rochester, B.A., 1976; studied with Stella Adler in New York City. Religion: Roman Catholic.

Career: Actor, singer, and producer.


Member: Actors' Equity Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild.


Awards, Honors: Independent Spirit Award nomination (with Robert Townsend), best first feature, 1988, for Hollywood Shuffle; Enzian Award, Florida Film Festival, 1994, for creative achievement.

CREDITS


Film Appearances:

Jacques Le Monde, Bummer! (also known as The Sadist ), 1972.

Willie, Tom (also known as The Bad Bunch, Mothers, Fathers, and Lovers, and Nigger Lover ), 1973.

Titons gang leader, Warriors, Paramount, 1979.

Street punk, Fort Apache, the Bronx, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1981.

Junkie, Prince of the City, Warner Bros., 1981.

Mental patient, Endless Love, Universal, 1981.

Type, reporter, fool, Beaner Gang member, basketball player, and actor in audition, Hollywood Shuffle (also known as Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle ), Goldwyn, 1987.

Man in love, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1988.

Modulations, Strand Releasing, 1998.

Film Work:

Executive producer and production manager, Hollywood Shuffle (also known as Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle ), Goldwyn, 1987.

(With Peter McCarthy) Producer, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1988.

Coproducer, Mo' Money, Columbia, 1992.

Producer and executive movie consultant, House Party 3, New Line Cinema, 1994.

Producer, The Players Club, New Line Cinema, 1998.

Producer, Book of Love, Artisan Entertainment, 2002.

Coproducer, Playas Ball, Summertime Films LLC, 2003.

Television Work; Specials:

(With Keenan Ivory Wayans) Producer, "Robert Townsend and His Partners in Crime," HBO Comedy Hour, HBO, 1987.

Producer, "Damon Wayans: The Last Stand?," HBO Comedy Hour, HBO, 1991.

Television Work; Pilots:

Associate producer, Hammer, Slammer, and Slade, ABC, 1990.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Hollow Image, 1979.

Appeared as paramedic cop, As the World Turns, CBS; as waiter, All My Children, ABC; and in "Lead Poisoning," Black Dimensions, PBS.

Stage Appearances:

My Fair Lady, Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix, 19851986.


Also appeared as Shine, The Great Mac Daddy, Negro Ensemble Company, New York City; in The Brownsville Raid, Negro Ensemble Company; Bubba, Second Thoughts, Afro American Total Theatre, NY; Universal Man, Poets from the Inside, Public Theatre, New York City; Tony, Black Sheep, Billie Holiday Theatre, New York City; Pierre, Sister Racher and the Ton Ton Maconte, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, New York City; Catesby, Richard III, U.R.S.T., Rochester, NY; in Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, GEVA Theatre, Rochester, NY.

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"Craig, Carl 1954–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/craig-carl-1954