Wednesday, November 10, 1999

Not just booty anymore

Posted By on Wed, Nov 10, 1999 at 12:00 AM

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Neither really "ghetto" nor "tech," this compilation of neo-electro, booty, jungle and instrumental hip hop from a cross section of Detroit’s newer (if lesser known) electronic producers embodies more the spirit than the sound of the city’s ghetto-tech scene. Where ghetto-tech has become synonymous with Detroit’s often raunchy booty (or, more PC, "electro-bass") sound, this compilation isn’t just a low-end workout. Instead it takes a more high-minded route to consider the genres and styles that ghetto-tech’s rock-the-party utility demands.

As such, this compilation, put together mix-disc style – such that each track flows into the next – is more an artist’s showcase than a DJ showcase, and it’s just as well. DJ Recloose’s stellar opener, "Nalgas," is its own little micromix of styles (electro, breakbeat and jazz), all in one rushing, constantly re-forming rhythm collision. Likewise, technocrat Sean Deason contributes a dark epic of a drum ’n’ bass track, "Trevor’s Rainbow," that pushes the boundaries of his native techno to offer a vision of where the genre could he heading.

Straight-up, mix-show-approved ghetto-tech is well represented, even if the genre’s dual kingpins don’t command center stage. DJ Godfather’s robotic "Chemical Warfare" is pure clunk-funk retro-electro, while DJ Assault’s "Crank This Mutha" is hardly he and producer Ade Manor’s best ghetto track (that, of course, is the sublimely simple "Ass ‘N’ Titties"). Only DJ Omega’s "Shake That Thang" is a recognizable mix show staple.

That said, Comin’ makes a fluid case that the new chapter(s) of the Detroit sound are as scattered as they are funky, from Aux 88 founder Keith Tucker’s wriggling electro workout "Face Your Fate" to DJ Shortstop’s goodtime tech-step "Finger on the Trigger." Minus the raunch and rumpus, Comin’ From Tha D compiles more than it compels at times. But at 16 tracks deep with its hip hop and jungle change-ups, it does so better than any single disc of Detroit-based artists in the last 10 years.

And in a city that often finds its prime movers splintered into minor fiefdoms of their own labels and minor hits, that’s saying – and doing – something about it. Lucky for Detroit listeners, moving behinds is still the most important part of it.

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