Of the Detroit Three, Derrick May's sound has arguably made the most impact on present-day techno; it's been said that without his earth-shattering "Strings of Life," made under his Rythim Is Rythim moniker, the British "Summer of Love" of 1989 wouldn't have happened. That, of course, is an exaggeration, though it definitely wouldn't have happened the same way without the dry, minimal, nearly clumsily futurist sound emanating from May's synthesizers and string samples.
Listening to those early May records, created in the mid-'80s and compiled on the essential The Innovator double disc (released on May's Transmat imprint), you can hear the strong influence as clear as a T1 connection; there they are, the single bytes of techno and jungle, and it's safe to say that May, probably more than any other early electronic-dance-music innovator, constructed the essential aspects of the language that's now standard. May so obviously had a love for the clean, passionless sounds of the synthesizer that he was able to inject them with true celebratory emotion; he had such a way with covert rhythms that each measure contains crazy flip-flop beats -- pre-jungle jungle.
It sounds so patronizing to demand that the young 'uns respect the elders, but in this case those who attend the Liquid spin will be doing more than showing their respect: They be seeing The Man, and they be exposing themselves to some of the most transcendent and influential sounds ever created by computers.
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