Kevin Saunderson
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Kevin Saunderson is one of the three legendary Detroit dj's and producers who invented techno (the other two being Juan Atkins and Derrick May) and changed forever the face (and sound) of dance-music. Born in Brooklyn in 1964 (the ninth child in his family), Saunderson moved as a child to Detroit where he eventually hooked up with high-school pals Derrick May and Juan Atkins and started spinning at local radio stations. Soon, he started producing his own extended singles, under nicknames such as Kreem (Triangle of Love), Reese (The Sound, Bounce Your Body to the Box, Rock to the Beat), E-Dancer (Pump the Move), Inter-City, Tronik House, Essaray, Kaos, etc. His collaboration with Chicago singer Paris Grey (real name Shanna Jackson), christened Inner City, started in 1987 with Big Fun (Virgin, 1988), which later became a world-wide hit and was soon followed by Good Life. They thus pioneered the techno boom of 1988. The demand for his music was high not only in US clubs but around Europe. He became a strong influence on continental and UK dj's who launched the European version of techno (Inner City will go on to gain eight UK top 40 hits in five years as well as two hit albums with combined sales of more than 6 million). What was unique about Saunderson's dance-music was the German flavor: his music owed more to Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream than to rhythm and blues (unlike, say, Chicago house, and, of course, hip hop).

Inner City's charts attack continued with Ain't Nobody Better. The album Paradise (Virgin, 1989) was the first full-length released by a Detroit techno dj.

The pop and soul flavor of Fire (Virgin, 1990) was paramount to betrayal of the techno aestethics, but Saunderson continued his more experimental work as the Reese Project, inaugurated by Hope & Clarity (SIX6, 1992).

While the singles kept coming (Watcha Gonna Do with My Lovin, That Man, Back Together Again), albeit with lower and lower quality, the third album Praise (Virgin, 1992) ignited hopes of return to the grand form of 1988 thanks to the surreal techno jam Ahnongay. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the exception, not the rule.

Do Ya and Share My Life climbed the charts in 1994. Hallelujah and Pennies From Heaven were also dancefloor favorites.

Hiatus (1996) confirmed Saunderson's decandence as a god of techno.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Marina Troiani)

Kevin Saunderson e` uno dei tre leggendari DJ e produttori di Detroit che inventarono il techno (gli altri due erano Juan Atkins e Derrick May) e cambiarono per sempre volto (e ritmo) della musica dance. Nato a Brooklyn nel 1964 (nono figlio), Sauderson si trasferi` da bambino a Detroit dove infine incontro` i suoi amici Derrick May e Juan Atkins e inizio` a lavorare per le radio locali. Ben presto comincio` a produrre propri singoli, sotto nomi d'arte come Kreem (Triangle of Love), Reese (The Sound, Bounce Your Body to the Box, Rock to the Beat), E-Dancer (Pump the Move), Inter-City, Tronik House, Essaray, Kaos, etc. La sua collaborazione col cantante dei Chicago Paris Grey (vero nome Shanna Jackson) ribattezzata Inner City, comincio` nel 1987 con Big Fun (Virgin, 1988), che piu` tardi divenne un successo mondiale a fu seguito ben presto da Good Life. Si deve a loro l'esplosione del techno nel 1988. La sua musica non fu acclamata solo nei club statunitensi, ma anche in tutta Europa. Influenzo` notevolmente la musica continentale ed i DJ anglosassoni che lanciarono la versione europea del techno (Inner City piazzo` otto successi nelle classifiche inglesi top 40 nell'arco di cinque anni e produsse due album che vendettero oltre 6 milioni di copie). La singolarita` della dance-music di Saunderson era il richiamo a quella tedesca: doveva maggiormente a Kraftwerk e Tangerine Dream che al rhythm and blues (diversamente, quindi, dai Chicago, e, ovviamente, dall'hip hop).

La scalata delle classifiche da parte di Inner City continuo` con Ain't Nobody Better. L'album Paradise (Virgin, 1989) fu il primo realizzato interamente da un DJ techno di Detroit.

Il sound pop and soul di Fire (Virgin, 1990) fu un lapalissiano tradimento dell'estetica techno, ma Sounderson continuo` il suo personale lavoro di sperimentazione con il Reese Project, inaugurato da Hope & Clarity (SIX6, 1992).

Mentre i singoli si susseguivano (Watcha Gonna Do with My Lovin, That Man, Back Together Again), sebbene con sempre minore qualita`, il terzo album Praise (Virgin, 1992) lascio` sperare un ritorno alla migliore forma del 1988 grazie al techno jam surreale di Ahnongay. Sfortunatamente si rivelo` un'eccezione, non la regola.

Do Ya e Share My Life scalo` le classifiche del 1994. Anche Hallelujah e Pennies From Heaven furono i preferiti delle piste.

Hiatus (1996) confermo` la decadenza di Saunderson come dio del techno.

Faces And Phases (Planet E, 1998) is an anthology of hard-techno rarities published under different monikers. This album did more to establish Saunderson's artistic credentials than all the Inner City albums together.

Overall, Saunderson is certainly important as a dj, but has never truly convinced as an author. His singles are catchy and groovy, but that's where his lesson ends. It is likely that his lesser known hard-techno tracks recorded under a variety of minikers will last longer than the commercial Inner City hits.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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