Last week we were lucky to have Gilles Peterson, BBC Radio One DJ and selector extraordinaire as our special guest. Gilles was in town working on the second volume of his Gilles Peterson Digs America compilation series for Ubiquity Records, as well as to DJ at local superclub Ruby Skye, but still found the time to kick it with us at the KUSF studio in SF's Western Addition.
Over a killer falafel plate from Haight Street's Blue Front Cafe and a wonderful bottle of wine, Gilles took us on a tour of his record box for two hours, while regaling us with tales of being a globetrotting DJ. Inbetween sips of cabernet, Gilles managed to play us a diverse selection of tunes ranging from latin jazz from artists like Tito Puente and Ray Camacho to more contemporary jams from Louie Vega and Simbad.
More pertinent to this blog (and interesting to me) is that The Scene was popular during the birth and growth of Detroit's last enduring gift to the world: Techno.
The show aired on Detroit's only black-owned TV station, WGPR, and had its roots in the swinging disco Seventies, as you can see in this short piece from Detroit local news:
Andrew Meecham is The Emperor Machine, one of the best producers working in electronic music at the moment. A soundclash between influences as diverse as Can, early Human League, Hawkwind, George Clinton and Kraftwerk, Meecham's Krautrock-Disco bubbles and squeaks with analogue rock intensity while remaning funky enough to get your groove on.
Meecham started out in seminal 90's house/rave group Bizarre Inc. alongside Carl Tuner and Dean Meredith. They had a string of hits including "Playing With Knives" and "I'm Gonna Get You", both of which charted in the UK (the former hit #3, the latter #4) as well as the US (#47), and both are considered "club classics".
"I'm Gonna Get You" (one of my personal favorites):
After their second album, 1996's Surprise, was commercially disappointing, Bizarre Inc. disappeared until 1999, when Meredith and Meecham resurfaced with Steve "Fella" Kotey as Chicken Lips. Since then, it's been full steam ahead, with the boys finding a home at DC Recordings (scheduled to have its own Technophilia post anytime soon) as Big Two Hundred, aka "the dark side of Chicken Lips", and two side projects: Meredith as White Light Circus and Meecham as TEM.