Somewhere in Detroit: The musical revolution led by underground Black artists in Detroit has brought Roland back to the source. An editorial team from the Japanese gear giant goes inside the story of Submerge and Underground Resistance.

Hey, it’s 301 Day, I guess. (Space Echo day?) But who needs an occasion to talk about Submerge and Underground Resistance? What’s special about this crew is that it’s more than history. Yes, techno deserves a museum, and yes, that museum really needs to be in Detroit and run by Black artists who birthed the style.

But music is meant to be alive, and music created around futurism can’t simply collect dust as. I notice the press release I got on this documentary comments that “Mad” Mike Banks “helped propel the genre forward.”

What’s that past tense doing there? Mad Mike continues to propel the genre forward right now, as the memory of Mike Huckaby lives on in spirit, by supporting new artists who can infuse techno with new ideas. Part of what made techno so dynamic was that it was local, and that its practitioners hustled hard to hone the craft of the music and get it out to other audiences. Now is a new moment for just that work. I know Ari at Roland who worked on this; it’s good to see this in the hands of a dedicated music journalist. And this whole roster of people deserves to have the spotlight:

  • “Mad” Mike Banks: Musician, Record Producer, UR and Submerge Co-Founder
  • Cornelius Harris: UR Label Manager, Cultural Advocate
  • Bridgette Banks: Head of Submerge Shipping and Distribution
  • Waajeed: Music Producer, Educator, UMA Founder
  • Crystal Mioner: DJ, Submerge Artist Management
  • Kamau Baaqi: Music Producer
  • Maritza Figueroa Garibay: Musician, Educator
  • Saylem Celeste: Music Producer, Quilter
  • De’Sean Jones: Musician, Educator

Give the doc a watch, for sure. But let’s come back to that word “local”: there is no reason we shouldn’t be taking this same approach to the folks around us. Any time I listen to the UR crew, I’m reflecting on that. Much as I love the old records, grateful as I am to participate in techno now because of its history, I’m still excited by what’s coming – and what the people who are mentored at Submerge, or learn from any of us, do next.

Thanks, Roland, for putting this together.

Also, selected slightly at random but for a taste, some of the new music:

And speaking of Waajeed, I did not have “Patty Hearst-themed cassette” on my bingo card, but it’s coming later this March, so I’m there for it:

Maritza Figueroa-Garibay deserves her own CDM feature, actually – check her sonic explorations / handmade instruments. Or go solar sounding on Baker Lake!