Innerzone Orchestra – Programmed

Cover Artwork

Cover Artwork

As second review in classic reviews I picked Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra album. Craig recorded this album alongside Francisco Mora, percussionist for Sun Ra’s Orchestra, Craig Taborn and saxophist Matt Chicoine, better known as the tape-in-sandwich dropping Recloose. The ensemble’s first effort, Bug in the Bassbin was picked up by the early London drum’n’bass scene around Goldie and 4hero. In Europe the record was reissued by James Lavelle’s Mo Wax label and sported remixes from 4hero and Peshay. For the recording of an entire album, Detroit fellows Paul Randolph and Richie Hawtin joined the ensemble.

“Futuristic is something that I always viewed as being 21st century. Now that there are only months left until the new millennium, it’s pretty difficult to invision what will be futuristic. As far as I’m concerned, we will be living in the future very soon.” -Carl Craig

The album resembles a classically performed, electronic sounding piece of work, offering its listeners different interpretations of how future might sound. The experiment begins with an amusing voice-message, that confuses the listener’s ideas of where the journey is going. It by voices blends into passages of voices speaking in different languages and an introduction by Carl Craig himself. Eruption raises the tension with ever-running drum-rolls and dark synthesizer sounds, just to finally erupt with the start of the third track, The Beginning Of The End, a dark mooded electronic hip hop track.

The following tracks drag you into different directions, not yet being sure what the record should sound like. This passage shares the beat-patterns with nineties trip-hop, hip hop, drum’n’bass, even bigbeat. It’s with the tune Blakula, when the more glorious second half of the album starts. Melancholic strings, not sure if I can hear oriental flavours in it, and deep synths playing underwater bells. The huge single People Make The World Go Round (original by The Stylistics) has Detroit’s very own Paul Randolph on vocals and guitar (there’s a J Dilla remix, too). Over the next few tracks, the jazz portion dominates the electrics, paving the way to the grand finale of At Les (this is the live-recording from Paris) and the previously mention Bug In The Bassbin.

In retrospective one can say Innerzone Orchestra had huge influence on many different styles, be it the early drum’n’bass scene, and even more importantly the West London broken beat scene! Carl Craig repeated the concept on Detroit Experiment and is currently working on an album with classic Detroit jazz outfit Tribe.