Psyche / BFC – ‘Elements 1989-1990’ 3xLP (2013 Remaster & Reissue) [Planet E]

Stoked that this reissue gives us another chance to discuss the early work of Carl Craig. And while I’ve been looking for somewhere to properly explore his Modular Pursuits projects, it’s all about exploring the stylings of his original Psyche and BFC aliases at present. Last month the Planet E label dropped a 3xLP remastered and reissued of Elements 1989-1990, the original of which was a collection of earlier tracks itself.

Only just got around to listening to it in full, trying to bend my mind around what must’ve been going on for him to be pushing things next level, creating his own blueprint for a genre of sound as he went along.

As well as being remastered, the 2013 the gatefold version comes with a letter from Carl himself, talking about recording in ’89 on borrowed equipment, sessions at Derrick’s and some techniques broken down track by track. Detroit roots run deep as he talks about early influences and gives some quality insight in to the length of time in recording and the restrictions of the equipment being used. Worth the record price alone before you even get the needle on.

Nine tracks in total, expanded from the original six on the original 1996 collection, and all are cuts that still sound dope today. Sample heavy loops push up against each other with the analogue roughness associated with the era, but Carl Craig’s always had that skill of keeping sounds precise and clinical whilst twisting the track around itself, making it stand-out from the imitators in the pack. Essential listening, especially for the analogue heads and electronic historians.

Summing it up for me, Jimmy Monstafunk weighed in beautifully when he talked about Elements and the what it represents in the C2 and Planet E catalogs.

“The album shows that even the 20 year old Carl Craig could not be confined to the standard tropes of Techno and that his music would also feature elements gleaned from a long love of Jazz, Soul and the electronic experimenters that preceded him. The influence that Carl Craig’s early trips to London with Derrick May should not be underestimated and that influence would later be reciprocated with Shut Up and Dance sampling the BFC track ‘Galaxy’. Although all the classic elements of Techno feature in the form of synthesized arpeggios, emotive strings and samples from earlier electronica (Manuel Göttsching’s E2-E4 features heavily in D-Funk, as it would feature again in Carl Craig’s later Paperclip People track ‘Remake’) Carl stays away from the standard 4/4 bedrock and let’s loose with beatless ambience, slower jams and stop start breakbeats. This gives an early insight into his peerless production skills, eclectic ear and ability to tease warm feelings out of cold machines”.

While I’ve only just gotten around this, properly stoked to have it in the collection. Limited to 750 copies, they’re only going to get pricier, we’d recommend getting a hold of one asap.

Mad props to Planet E and the don Carl Craig; brilliant reissue project this. Just realised the other day I’ve never gotten a bad pressing from Planet E – not a lot of labels can boast the quality and care that they’ve put in to releases for over twenty years.

Check some samples below. 2013 versions don’t seem to have gone up, but the tracks stand up incredibly, and there’s even a nice fan video for ‘Chicken Noodle Soup.’