Tag Archives: Carl Craig

Carl Craig Infuses Techno with the High Drama of an Orchestra

Carl Craig

Photo by Pierre Terdjman.

The idea of fusing electronic and orchestral music isn’t new—especially not to Carl Craig. The Detroit musician is well-known for his place in the international house and techno underground; he was part of the city’s second wave of techno, working closely with Derrick May when he was only a teenager, and continues to be part of the international big league of DJ/producers/remixers. But he has always been ready to step away from the dancefloor, keen to explore different possibilities in musical structure and instrumentation. His music has always been melodically complex, and his use of synthetic string sounds in particular, has always stood out. So it wasn’t that great a leap to bring in “real” instruments for his new project, Versus.

In the late ’90s, Craig expanded on the broken beats of his Innerzone Orchestra project by collaborating with respected jazz musicians like pianist Craig Taborn and drummer/composer Francisco Mora Catlett. Later, looking to expanded orchestral possibilities, he hooked up with Luxembourg pianist and electronic producer Francesco Tristano and Berlin techno mainstay Moritz Von Oswald of Basic Channel/Rhythm & Sound. In 2008, Craig and Von Oswald took part in Deutsche Grammophon’s ReComposed album series, blending motifs from composers Maurice Ravel and Modest Mussorgsky into a suite of their own. That same year, Craig and Tristano performed a set of Craig’s own classic tunes, along with works by modern orchestral composers like Steve Reich, with the Les Siècles orchestra at Paris’s Cité de la Musique. It eventually became the seed of the Versus project.

Carl Craig

Photo by Pierre Emmanuel Rastoin.

Continue reading