by Don Crispy
The Chicago house master follows up an omnibus event at
Ageha with a solo outing at Yellow
Last Valentine's Day, DJ Derrick Carter and frequent
collaborator Mark Farina performed together at the Om Monthly
party at Mezzanine in San Francisco. Their sets were documented
on a double CD released in Japan by KSR, Derrick Carter and
Mark Farina-Live at Home, which was about as good an
indication of the current state of Chicago house as you're
going to get right now.
Farina's disc was an outing of chunky beats, while
Carter's got down and dirty with a bumping set that
must have had the sweat dripping from the Mezzanine's
roof. The album provides a good taste of what's to
come this week, when Carter and Farina reprise their double-header
at Tokyo's massive bayside superclub Ageha.
The event offers an unusual grab-bag of DJs that amounts to
a veritable bonanza of dance talent, and is a promising indication
of what's to come at Ageha this year if the promoters
remain so open-minded. Hump 05 will see Carter and Farina
letting loose in the main room, while a spectrum of artists
running from American hip-hop tastemaker Stretch Armstrong
to UK breakbeats pioneer Dego will be behind the decks in
Ageha's other spaces.
Next week allows for a closer look at Carter when he headlines
at hallowed dance basement Yellow in Nishi-Azabu. Carter will
be playing under the theme "Choice: Classic and the
Classics," which takes its inspiration from the mix
compilation he did for the Choice-A Collection of Classics
CD series. The series has also featured mixes by house legends
from Frankie Knuckles to Danny Tenaglia.
Born and raised in Chicago, Carter honed his turntable skills
for years in the early '80s before launching himself
into the city's house music scene. "I was a
fierce bedroom jock for a long time," he says in his
bio. "After you mix for the love of it for six or seven
years, you get pretty good and you can take it on the road."
Getting his feet wet working at dance music specialty stores,
Carter was soon holding down residencies at some of house
music's formative events, including New York City's
Shelter. A child prodigy, Carter had been awarded a scholarship
to engineering university MIT, but after a brief stint he
dropped out to pursue his musical passions.
By the '90s, Carter was firmly established as one of
the biggest names in Chicago house, known as the "King
of Jack" for banging, bottom-heavy house juxtaposed
with spacey effects and vocal samples, often of his own voice.
He has contributed to house music history by recording some
of its landmark tracks, including the recent hit, "Boompty
Boomp Theme" off 2002's Squaredancing in a Roundhouse.
Carter is also known for some of house's most emotionally
potent songs, such as "Sorry," an apology for
a failed relationship. "I don't know how to
make happy records," he once said. "Everything
I've done is tinged with a bit of sadness...I haven't
cut off my ear or gone through my blue period, or gone mad...I'm
just good at making sad songs; that's the emotion I
identify with most."
To stay abreast of Carter's latest activities and check
out some of the music he produces under various aliases as
well as other acts he oversees, head to the website of Classic
the record label he heads with British DJ Luke Solomon.
Ageha, Jan 9 and Yellow, Jan 15.
See club listings for details.
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