Painting by Joanne Greenbaum
Carl Craig’s output over the years has included numerous classic moments in techno and electronica. At their height, Paperclip People tracks were sure-fire dance-floor murderers; incendiary, throbbing techno that was filled with the robotic funk of Detroit techno but augmented by a rubbery, organic feel. In recent years, the legacy of those faultless releases has been meddled with through a small run of covers and remixes, the latest of which being committed by the once-mighty Scottish duo Slam. In their day, Orde Meikle and Stuart McMillan were also responsible for an impressive number of seminal tracks in the techno oeuvre. Their mini-LP Snapshots and debut full-length Headstates were both full of vintage techno, but sadly this proved to be their most solid run of work; their discography since that time has been littered with some fine moments but nothing that quite stands next to this earlier, inspired run of quality.
When you take a classic track and start playing around with it you’re always going to come up against some purists who will hold high the scriptured stone engraved with the timeless warning: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. These purists appear to have been banished from their non-violent protest against remixes committed in the name of absurdity right around the time when Carl Craig started asking all and sundry to take potshots at his back catalog. To that end, Slam have been given free reign to update “Throw” for a generation of clubbers who may never have heard the original, and they do so in such a mediocre fashion that it’s getting me all emotional just writing about it. If “Throw” was the sound of a mentalist Craig losing his shit over the top of a dramatic, pulsating house track that grabbed you by the ear flaps and rogered you all about the brain, then Slam’s remix is kind of like when Diddy started jacking all those classic hip-hop joints in the late 90s and acted like he invented the wheel. Big-room drums, a touch more reverb and some white noise, that’s the crux of this middling touch up by Slam. Avoid.