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Detroit Electronic Music Festival salutes Chicago connection.

Publication: Detroit Free Press (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service)

Publication Date: 22-MAY-02
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COPYRIGHT 2002 Detroit Free Press

Byline: Brian McCollum

CHICAGO _ Gramaphone Records is a dusty old place on music's cutting edge.

Nestled in a funky neighborhood on this city's northwest side, the ages-old record shop remains the embryonic heartbeat of electronic dance music, its racks crammed with the seminal vinyl records that are the lifeblood of DJ culture.

The store thrives today, but you have to reach back more than 15 years to pinpoint the most crucial chapter in its legacy: the flurry of activity within the tiny shop's walls, as the guys who invented techno and house music eagerly sifted through the records they'd use to reshape the music world.

Among them were key players making increasingly regular treks from Detroit: Derrick May, Ken Collier, Mike Grant and others. Records were exchanged _ the hottest new Chicago house tracks, the budding techno stuff simmering in Detroit, obscure records from Europe. Behind the Gramaphone counter were teen-age clerks such as Derrick Carter, a guy who would go on to become one of Chicago's most legendary DJs.

Whether they knew it or not, those young, black Midwesterners were building the first link in a pipeline that's still hopping, pumping creative energy between Chicago's house music and Detroit's techno.

A big lake and 5-hour drive down I-94 separate the two cities, but on a globe, Detroit and Chicago are two dots crammed side by side, and as far as the rest of the world is concerned, it is from that cozy corner that two groundbreaking styles of music emerged to transform international culture. Whether working side by side or slyly watching out of the corners of their eyes _ whether sharing broad visions or nicking some cool new turntable trick _ Chicago and Detroit artists fostered the movement that would lead to electronic music's...

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