What do Planet E, Innerzone Orchestra, C2, Paperclip People, Tribe and 69 all have in common? Carl Craig– the classiest, hardest working man in electronic music. Aside from helping pioneer the early Detroit Techno phenomenon, this guy has been pioneering different sounds in music to this day (and i’ll bet my bottom dollar he’s isn’t anywhere near done.) Always known for his progressive approach to music, Craig is widely considered a deity in the world of electronic music.
I’ve been hearing Carl’s music for years and always appreciated his work, however, early last year he paid a visit to Miami for a gig at The Electric Pickle (where he’ll be this Friday) and my ideas of good music, mixing and style forever changed. Craig introduced me to my first taste of this eclectic style of playing during a single set. The night went from futuristic, driving techno down to smooth, melodic, jazzy house and back up again. Not to mention trips through memory lane with classics like his legendary Innercity remix and Depeche Mode and Sarah Mclachlan edits that I never heard before. A night I would never forget.
An attempt at describing Carl’s long illustrious career in a meer blog post would be a crime, but i’ve sat around for a few days digging through all my Planet E, Innerzone Orchestra, 69 and Craig stuff to offer my (keyword… MY) five favorite moments of the past 22 years from, in my opinion, the god of Techno.
5. Carl Craig – No More Words 
Back in 1991 released a 12″ titled “No More Words.” Considered his first official breakthrough while messing around with Derrick May in the early days of the Detroit movement. In what later becomes the theme in Craig’s work, the song is years ahead of it’s time with a eerie, spacey synth assortment sliding along a deep bass line. Truly classic Craig.
4. Innerzone Orchestra (Carl Craig) – Bug In The Bassbin 
Craig has had his hand in countless production groups, aliases, label collaborations and genre pioneering– pushing the Detroit sound being his most famous. However, with one his earliest aliases, Innerzone Orchestra, he inspired something not many could have ever imagined. His first release as Innerzone, “Bug In The Bassbin,” is widely considered as one of the sparks that led to the 90s drum ‘N bass scene. While “Bug In The Bassbin” may not sound like today’s drum ‘N bass, its speedy BPM, rapid fire kicks and interesting choice in jazzy samples somehow inspired early 90s producers to create a faster, high tempo, frenzied sound– drum ‘N bass.
3. 20 Years of Planet E Communications @ Celtronic Music Festival 
Last year Carl Craig’s most notable music venture, The Planet E Communications record label, turned 20. Planet E has released music from all of Carl Craig’s monikers and world renowned producers like Gemini and Flexitone, E Dancer (Kevin Saunderson), Recloose, Martin Buttrich, Loco Dice, Luciano, Kenny Larkin and Derrick May just to name a few. So on it’s 20th birthday Craig took Planet E on a world wide tour for the first time ever. This is his set at the celebration during the Celtronic Music Festival in the UK.
2. Innercity – Good Life (Carl Craig Remix) 
My earliest encounters with electronic music came from an uncle who was a frequent in Miami’s underground drum ‘N bass and electro scene. At age 11 (a ballpark guess) I asked him for music for a birthday and Innercity’s “Good Life” on vinyl was part of the collection he gave me. I must have listened to the record at least once a day for years. A decade and some change later I find myself completely engulfed in house music. My infatuation takes, not only through the current state of house, but on a search for where these sounds came from. No single track has had as much of an impact on me as Carl Craig’s remix to my first electronic record ever, Innercity’s “Good Life” The song came with so many positive angles– a full three minute of acapella vocals for mixing followed by a classic Craig, mellow techno beat. Top three favorite songs all time.
1. Carl Craig and Luciano Back To Back @ Shelborne Pool Party WMC 
Never have I heard two radically different styled DJs blend into one entity on stage like Carl Craig and Luciano. Only weeks after seeing Craig absolutely crush the Electric Pickle he was in the booth at one of Miami Beach’s Shelborne Hotel’s famous WMC parties alongside Luciano. Craig playing with his Maschine and synthesizers creating his futuristic techno elements while Luciano serenaded with his signature Vagabundo, latin and jazz infused tech house. One of my true favorite moments, not only just in Carl’s career, but in electronic music period. Here’s a short clip of the two mixing Fine Young Cannibal’s “She Drives Me Crazy.” Pure joy in house music form.