Jimmy Monsta Funk on Underground Resistance

Getting to know James aka Jimmy Monsta Funk over the past few months has been a rewarding experience. His passion for film and music that’s driven him for decades meets a brilliant nature of open-mindedness to new ideas and an ongoing desire to learn. Unfortunately, this seems a rare trait in those who were around for Detroit techno the first time, as a lot of his generation is seemingly obsessed with preaching instead of teaching, and an ignorance towards accepting the ever-changing industry.

The sad part of this is the knee-jerk reaction to tune out as soon as someone starts on about it. Once people stop listening, the elders become irrelevant, and it’s the equivalent of burning down a library. Hence why the hours I’ve spent arguing music with James have taught me more than any of the books or podcasts talking about what Derrick May did in his bedroom when he was 18, the car factory lifestyle or how many records you could sell out of the trunk of a car back then.

It seems that every time James gets on a roll though, it always come back to Underground Resistance. In an attempt to capture some of the magic that starts when he holds court on UR, I asked him to pick out a few tunes that would be recommended sharing for those new to the Detroit crew.

via Jimmy Monsta Funk

No Hope, No Dreams, No Love, My Only Escape Is Underground

Underground Resistance aka UR, the label started in Detroit by Jeff ‘The Wizard’ Mills, Robert ‘The Noise’ Hood and the ever-present “Mad’ Mike Banks has had an impact on my life in the way someone 30-40 years older than me would talk of Chess, Blue Note, Stax or Motown in reverent tones – without this rich seam of music running through the last 20 years I would be at a loss to find continuity to parallel all the rises and falls of genres in EDM.

Through this time a new UR record was treated like a telegram arriving at an isolated outpost. From the early tracks ‘Living for the Night‘ and ‘The Punisher‘ (two records that you’d find difficulty to find similarities between, though both resolutely embellished with unmistakable UR motifs), to the latest tracks by DJ John Collins, Nick Speed and Billeebob; Underground Resistance the label has always had the ability to forge music both totally unexpected and absolutely elemental.

Whilst the big name DJs from Detroit (not least the Bellville Three and the artists of the Second and Third Wave) have gone out into the world to spread the gospel through DJ sets (with some having also re-located away from the Motor City), Underground Resistance have remained steadfast in the city of their birth sending out their musical visions on wax (and occasionally playing live and doing ‘nightstrike’ DJ sets through their roster of DJs) to the rest of the world like post industrial age Alan Lomax‘s. This comparison for me is not offer kilter, I’ve never been to the Motor City, however I feel that these tracks provide people with the vibrations of Detroit in the same way that a Lomax recording of Leadbelly gives you a feel of not only the recorded artist, but also the time and the place.

Awkward Movements asked me to provide 5 tracks from the Underground Resistance canon (or as Derrick May has coined it ‘The Arkham Asylum of Techno’) to share with you, I would merely use this as a starting point as I’ve missed out a lot (not list the sub-labels like Red Planet and Happy Records). There are no tracks by Drexciya (electro dons), James ‘Suburban Knight’ Pennington (keyboardist with Inner City and producer of the legendary “Art of Stalking’), Blake Baxter, Yolanda Reynolds, Aaron Carl (RIP – life is hard, but it would be harder without your take on ‘Hardlife’) or any other of the plethora of amazing producers, both young and old who have appeared on the label.

Here are the tracks in no particular order (and I’m not providing any descriptions of these tunes, as they speak for themselves):

Galaxy 2 Galaxy – Journey of the Dragon (1993)

Underground Resistance – The Final Frontier (1991)

Galaxy 2 Galaxy – Hi-Tech Jazz (1993)

DJ Rolando aka The Aztec Mystic – Knights Of The Jaguar (1999)

Remote – Protecting my Hive (1993)