Paperclip People

The Secret Tapes of Dr. Eich

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Arranging a few past classics from his Paperclip People pseudonym around a full album of productions, Carl Craig recorded a classic LP of machine-in-motion techno. The Secret Tapes of Dr. Eich possesses a clean, technical, utterly scientific approach to the dynamic, sometimes dirty world of dance music, and Craig blends the dual aesthetics excellently, pitting raw samples against precise beats and studio effects. The nod to Kraftwerk's robots -- instrument credits belong to the Japanese numerals Eich, Me, Son, and Sche -- is a good pointer to Craig's style; if Kraftwerk had been active during the early '90s, this is the musical response they may have offered to early-'80s Chicago house and Detroit techno, an era just before Larry Heard, Derrick May, and Marshall Jefferson took electronic dance into deep territory. Craig keeps the groundwork very simple, relying on a four-four beat and rarely changing the drift of the production in mid-track. The controlled-static beats and pitched-up disco strings on "Floor" make it one of his career highlights, and "Steam" moves from wound-up guitar clockwork to redemption via a crucial bridge and vocal sample ("Gotta let off steam"). It's a balance of Craig's competing interests: on one side he's a street-level dance evangelist and on the other, an academic electronic technician. It's a testament to his talent and execution that The Secret Tapes of Dr. Eich succeeds on both counts.

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