Geology attempts to selectively highlight some of the more brilliant musical moments occurring over the first eight impressive years of Planet E's history. In less than a decade, Carl Craig's Detroit techno label evolved from primarily an outlet for his work under various aliases -- see Intergalactic Beats for an idea of Planet E's beginnings -- to a label hosting some of the Midwest's most promising electronic musicians. Consisting of ten tracks spanning 72 minutes, Geology features many drastically differing variations of the original techno sound pioneered in Detroit. The album begins with the low-budget sound of Craig's first release on Planet E back in 1991 as 69. While his peers were still working out the kinks in the original formula for prototypical techno, Craig was already straying from the norm with his sample-heavy blend of distorted bass beats and primitive synthesizers on tracks such as 'If Mojo Was AM.' Another key track on Geology is Craig's 1991 mix of Innerzone Orchestra's ten-minute monster of frantic jazz percussion and rich bass tones, 'Bug in the Bassbin (Original Mix).' There haven't been many artists outside of the drum'n'bass genre who have attempted anything as out-there as this merger of human spontaneity and meticulous computer programming. In addition to the 69 and Innerzone Orchestra tracks, Craig also contributes an exclusive epic remix of Paperclip People's 'Remake,' a polished update of the electronic funk he had originally created as 69. The accompanying artists on Geology are a varied bunch. Chicago's Common Factor represents possibly the strongest track on the entire album, 'Horizons.' Just one of the many standouts on his Dreams of Elsewhere album, this pumping track with it's anthemic alien vocals retains the industrial grit of Detroit techno while employing the polished disco-funk of Chicago house artists such as Derrick Carter and DJ Sneak. Two other young artists, Recloose and Jason Hogans, use the cut-and-paste techniques of late-'90s drum'n'bass to construct interesting sound collages. Review by Jason Birchmeier.
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