It’s not often that we’ll write up a repress here at LWE, especially when the original discs were released less than a decade ago, but then In The Dark is a pretty special collection of music. Helping to illuminate a more current trend of Detroit electronic music and dispel the notion that the Motor City has only ever been about techno, In the Dark was originally minted in 2005 on Jerome Derradji’s Still Music imprint. The limited pressing collected tracks by revered Detroit luminaries such as Marcellus Pittman, Rick Wilhite, Delano Smith, and Mike Huckaby among others, and is one of the finer compendiums of the Detroit beatdown sound around. Available again both on double CD and double vinyl, the reissue will please a lot of those who missed out the first time around and don’t want to succumb to the dizzying mark-ups of Discogs sellers. Many of the tracks are actually available elsewhere if you search for them, but when you include greats such as Mike Huckaby’s “Melodies From The Jazz Republic” and Marcellus Pittman’s “A Walk Thru Osaka,” which are exclusives of the comp, then you’ve got some rare birds indeed.
One of the most exciting things about the repress is that it includes a previously unreleased documentary, shot by Chris Bravo, that acts as an accompaniment to the album. Interviewing many of the producers who appear on the compilation, we gain further insight into the deep-seated passion they have for the music — born not out desire of recognition or money, but purely out of the love of expressing themselves through this medium. As Mike Huckaby says in the doco, most of the artists from the area don’t have big or expensive studios; they are making do with the limited equipment they have but wringing out every last bit of soul and feeling from those machines. It’s an aesthetic that is also mirrored in the doco itself, whether it was intentionally filmed in such a way to highlight the grittiness of the city or the bare-bones realness of the scene or not, it is miles away from the slickness of a David Terranova-shot piece. Often, Bravo lets the music speak for the producers, letting long passages play in between the interviews, which at first gives the doco the feeling that it’s a bit light on the interview content, but the lasting impression it makes is that it reminds the viewer that the music is at the center of the stage here, and that the producers are conduits for it.