Carl Craig is one of the best-known dance artists in the world.
He’s one of the pioneers of techno, a Grammy-nominated composer and and daring electronic artist. He’s worked with orchestras, jazz artists and DJs, stretching techno’s reach from the gritty post industrial warehouses of Detroit to highbrow theatres and concert halls across the globe.
And now, Craig stretches his musical reach to Sheffield.
The techno star, who started working in 1989, comes to Sheffield’s Hope Works next weekend as part of a huge event at the city’s key dance venue.
But the trip won’t be too much of a culture shock, as Hope Works’ organiser and event curator Liam O’Shea explains.
“There are parallels between Detroit and Sheffield. Both are cities that relied on manufacturing and both cities saw their manufacturing decline in the past few decades. Yet, in both cities, electronica was born out of the ashes of post industrial hardship. In Detroit, young black kids released tracks that eventually made it over the Atlantic and these tracks influenced artists here.”
Both cities had a dominant working class, only one that had suffered huge job losses. Detroit – the Motor City – was the birthplace of the Model T Ford, hence the city’s moniker. In the early and mid-20th century Detroit was a manufacturing boom town, with 90,000 people employed at the Ford River Rouge plant alone.
This boom didn’t last though. By the ’80s, with increased global competition, the city started to lose grip of car manfacturing and its population more than halved.
But this decline fed into the musical melting pot, O’Shea says: “Detroit and Sheffield are both hard cities to make a living in and both bred a steely toughness and determination in people.”
Carl Craig was one of those steely characters. He released his first track in 1989 and in 1991 set up his own record label, Planet-E records. Then, he released the record that kick-started the drum ‘n’ bass revolution – Bug in the Bassbin, which kickstarted a new genre of electronic music.
“It is exciting to have an artist like Craig come to Hope Works,” says O’Shea. “His discography is so varied, Craig really stretches the genre and approaches electronic music in a very arty and creative way and his remixes of tracks are often better than the originals.”
Those remixes include tracks by Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, Tori Amos, Goldfrapp, Friendly Fires and Tiga.
O’Shea says: “Over the years Carl Craig has established himself as one of the most pivotal forces in electronic music worldwide.”
But he’s not the only star of the show on Saturday night at Hope Works.
There will also be sets by Sheffield house music maestro Chris Duckenfield and emerging DJ Midland.
Carl Craig, Chris Duckenfield and Midland play at Hope Works on Saturday, May 3.