Nude Photo

While I’m in this techno/house groove we should have something from Detroit and one of the originators of the whole thing. Derrick May was one of the Belleville Three (the other two being Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson). The sound they cooked up in Belleville in the mid-to late 80s was partly a result of isolation (Belleville was pretty racially segregated at the time and the three stuck together). Belleville was a rural suburb of Detroit and many of the residents worked in the car factories, well paid jobs. The black population of Belleville were a black middle class, with the disposable income to buy records and equipment. May, Atkins and Saunderson listened to Kraftwerk, George Clinton, Prince, Yellow Magic Orchestra, The B-52s. Eventually Atkins bought a synth and then taught the other two to dj. They began to play records in the clubs of Detroit and then ventured further, discovering Chicago’s house scene. Suitably inspired by the scenes in Chicago’s warehouses and clubs, and the largely black and gay crowd losing it on the dancefloor, they returned home to fuse Chicago’s house music with Kraftwerk’s mechanical sounds, with the stated intention of creating the music of the future.

Nude Photo

The second release under the mis-spelt Rhythim Is Rhythim name was Strings Of Life, one of the key records of the UK’s Second Summer Of Love. Nude Photo, co-written with Thomas Barnett, preceded it. Barnett describes driving home after a disappointing session writing with Derrick, with the idea of the ‘three Roland drum machines strategically placed on the floor of Derrick’s living room’ and how he wanted to make them join together in an ‘extra-terrestrial-midi-rain dance’. The track was created the following day. The sampled laughter comes from Yazoo. The rest comes from Derrick and Thomas.

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