Underground Resistance

Freewheeling through time and space, Kris Needs continues his adventures in sound. This month: Underground Resistance

I thought I’d swivel my trouser telescope back to one of this column’s earliest obsessions – Detroit’s Underground Resistance.

Illustrating the delirious paper trail of my life collecting records, this stemmed from celebrating underrated prince of todger techno Blake Baxter last month. I like to think I have a fairly robust collection of UR tackle but, checking Discogs, discovered that Motor City techno’s ultimate bunker squad released a seven-inch single in 2003 called ‘Transition (Acapella)’ / ’Windchime’.

The A-side features the unaccompanied positive extrapolations vented by Christa Robinson (“Mad” Mike Banks’ Submerge Distribution co-founder), UR’s press voice Cornelius Harris, and DJ Dex (Dan Caballero) from the previous year’s ‘Transition’ 12-inch release, which had taken the untouchable UR sound to further ecstatic realms. It’s flipped by an edit of Mike’s exquisitely resonant ‘Windchime’, which would later spring fully extended as UR-054 (co-habited by Perception’s fabulously evocative ‘Abandoned Building In Mono’) in 2004.

Stuff like this entices the unashamed trainspotter from deep within my battered soul like a reawakened rhino’s stiffy – tracks crafted with love, released on their own terms in assorted couplings. This particular love triangle prodded a peek at the epic UR interview I conducted in 2005 that got slashed to bits by another magazine. There was Mike explaining why UR had reintroduced seven-inch 45s at a time when electronic dance music was lodged up its 12-inch-obsessed arse. 

“Essentially records are expensive!” he explained. “At UR we make tools for the underground. Grimy, small sweatbox clubs where record volume and precision big studio sound is not a requirement so much as soul is! In my opinion, our 12-inch records simply cost too much, due to rising manufacturing costs… and many domestic releases were much cheaper than our imports, so to compete we dropped the seven-inch which gave us the traditional ‘a lotta bang for notta lotta money’-type value for our brothers and sisters in sound. Thanks to Ron Murphy at National Sound for innovating how to cut a HOTT seven-inch, our records can compete sonically with most 12-inch records at a cheaper price.”

Then I stumbled on a 2003 seven-inch of ‘Tobacco Ties’ / ‘Spacewalker’ by The Martian. A Red Planet 45! If I get stranded on a desert island with just a loincloth and a gang of lop-eared rabbits, these fabled UR-affiliated releases will form my dying soundtrack.

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