Night Slugs: A Guide to Detroit Music by Girl Unit
You could be forgiven if the name Girl Unit didn’t ring any bells, but if you’ve been out to a nightclub over the last years there’s a high chance you’ll have heard his breakout anthem, ‘Wut.’ Laced as it is with a undeniable attitude, the scattered snare drums of southern US hip hop, those screeching synth lines and one hell of a drop, it fast became an anthem; but from talking to him even a little bit, straight away it’s obvious his passions run deeper into a sub aquatic world of electro.
“Detroit is where about 70% of the records I own were made,” the Night Slugs signed producer tells us ahead of his set in Room Two tonight; “so as the summer draws to a close and I start feeling nostalgic, I thought I would do a short rundown of my favourite tracks from the motor city for the NS blog takeover - tracks that have directly and indirectly inspired my own sound and will continue to. Honorable mentions also go to Aaron-Carl, DBX, DJ Assault, Ectomorph and the other Stinson/Donald side projects (Abstract Thought, Transillusion, Japanese Telecom and Clarence G).”
10. Aux 88 - Direct Drive
Girl Unti: Irresistible moody electrofunk track from DJ K-1 and Tom Tom; still doing it 26 years later.
9. DBX - Electric Shock
Jack track that, unlike A Guy Called Gerald, is actually from Detroit.
8. Galaxy 2 Galaxy - Timeline
100000% vibes. The pianos, the string stabs and the alien synths. You can’t really go wrong with a record like this. UR all day!
7. Drexciya - Sighting in the Abyss
The whole Drexciya concept still completely blows my mind; I love how the tracks unfold as mini soundtracks to specific moments in the whole saga. It could have so easily been a movie but I’m glad it wasn’t. You can read more here - http://drexciyaresearchlab.blogspot.com
6. Dopplereffekt - Master Organism
It’s impossible to pin down my favourite Gerald Donald project but Dopplereffekt is definitely a winner. Such an unforgiving track (see also DJ Deeon’s ‘Shake Dat Butt’).
5. Mr ‘De - Whonleeone
Ade Mainor aka Mr ‘De is definitely one of my biggest heroes. An unbelievable jazz musician he’s created and released some of the best ghettotech tracks through his label Electrofunk. This track which samples Floetry’s ‘Say Yes’ carries a certain melancholy vibe whilst staying submerged in the funk. His documentary Mr ‘De - A Detroit Story, is well worth watching.
4. Der Zyklus - Elektronisches Zeitechno
Leave it to Gerald Donald to convey abject loneliness through pumping techno tracks, so tough and yet so delicate.
3. Arpanet - Illuminated Displays
Such a beast!!!! That menacing arp that looms over the rest of the track what really makes it for me, add to that the massive flashes of white noise that are the snares and you have the perfect soundtrack to accompany a global thermonuclear attack plot (a la WarGames.)
2. D.I.E - R U Married
“R U Married? R U Occupied? U Got Kids? How ‘bout HIV?” Tameko Williams and Odell Perry aka DJ Maaco and P-Dog delivering you a dose of reality via this bittersweet love song for 1997. Definitely a classic amongst Night Slugs (and yes that is a rip from the CBS top 100 but that’s where I heard it for the first time.)
1. Cybotron – Clear
The ultimate! The ‘Enter’ LP is almost 30 years old and is still the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever heard. For me there’s no track that harbors the kind of physical energy that ‘Clear’ does, with that escalating arp sounding like a cosmic treadmill designed to make you work. I’ll be playing this one forever.
Girl Unit plays Room Two tonight.