Carl Craig has dipped a toe into just about every post-Kraftwerk style of electronic dance music, and he has a pseudonym for each venture: when he does house he's Paperclip People; when he rattles the breakbeats he's 69; when he's mood food he's just Carl Craig. And when he decided to address boosters' claims that techno is the new jazz, he formed an "orchestra" that takes its name from the pseudonym he used to release his 1992 single "Bug in the Bassbin," a snaky, skittering track whose contemporaneousness with early breakbeat hardcore earned it DJ play from future jungle dons Fabio and Grooverider. Instead of trying to prove techno's jazzlike merits by laying down rhythm tracks for vapid fusion soloing, for the new Programmed (Planet E/Astralwerks) Craig called in fellow Detroit-identified complex minimalist Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman) and three genuine Motor City jazz heavies: Craig Taborn, who plays piano with James Carter; former Sun Ra percussionist Francisco Mora; and bassist Rodney Whitaker, who's played with the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove. The album isn't quite the summit meeting you might hope for, but the best cuts (the nimble "Basic Math," the keyboard fantasia "At Les," the rush-hour-in-a-snowstorm motion of "Eruption," and the dynamite reworking Craig, Mora, and Whitaker give "Bassbin") could reasonably be filed under jazz--and the orchestra is undoubtedly the hottest live techno band you'll see this year. Thursday, October 21, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nicola Kuperus.