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Kevin Saunderson

History Elevate

(Fabric; US: 22 Sep 2009; UK: 8 Jun 2009)

Take any contemporary music labeled “house” or “techno”, and you can trace a line from it back to Kevin Saunderson. As part of the duo Inner City and with Derrick May and Juan Atkins, Saunderson was a creator of the classic Detroit Techno sound. This two-disc set attempts to pay homage to Saunderson’s 20-year career. You get one disc of vintage Saunderson remixes. That’s good. The man puts his punishing hi-hats and Roland 909 snares to work for everyone from Pet Shop Boys to the Presets. While his stuttering vocal-editing technique hasn’t dated well, everything else has. Most exemplary is Lighthouse Family’s “High”, where fat analog synths vie with the drum machines for dance-floor dominance.


You also get one disc of new remixes of Saunderson classics, done by the likes of Simian Mobile Disco, Claude Von Stroke, and others. That’s not good. None of these mixes is bad. In fact, they do demonstrate the modern-day fruits of Saunderson’s innovations. Still, when a guy’s known for inventing a specific sound, why hand the tapes over to a bunch of relative young ‘uns to mess with? Wouldn’t you rather have the original versions of “Good Life”, “Big Fun”, and “Rock to the Beat”? Thought so.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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Inner City - Good Life original version
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