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Carl Craig Versus InFiné


There was a time when electronic music wasn’t deemed ‘real’ music. So it’s interesting that, since their early days pioneering the sound, many of Detroit techno’s biggest names have performed and recorded with orchestras. Classical music, so the argument goes, can lend virtuosic musicianship where a drum machine can’t. Carl Craig has made music with orchestras for a while, and now he’s made an album of versions of his discography with Les Siecles Orchestra, plus a few new compositions acting as interludes.

Classical music can be pompous, and ‘orchestral techno’, if we can call it that, can be too. Fortunately, with Craig’s music, silliness is avoided. The menace of tracks like Sandstorms is enhanced by War of Worlds-style brass fanfares, lending a brooding, cinematic swagger. Craig’s classic remix of Domina also makes an appearance, glissando and vibrato violins stretching out the emotion of the intro and rhyming with piano-led arpeggios in the mid-section – a complex bit of arrangement that sounds like classical music without all the boredom. Fortunately, Craig has kept the percussion of the originals where needed. The off-kilter whiplash snare of Darkness lends edge to what might otherwise sound like a budget Darth Vader theme. So if there’s any complaints, it’s that some of the interludes are a bit meandering, and they missed an opportunity by leaving out Carl Craig’s remix of Rob Trent’s classic Altered States, seeing that the song already has soaring violins, sharp drama and rowdy percussion like the best emotive classical music.

Techno shouldn’t have to prove itself anymore. It’s a serious, vital genre that doesn’t need to borrow the supposed legitimacy of another ‘real’ genre. But if meaningful collaborations sound this good – make more.