A Tribute To Ken Collier


"What Larry Levan is to NY and Ron Hardy is to Chicago, Ken Collier is to the prodigious city of Detroit. Before Mojo electrified the airwaves with his eclectic funk and 'The Wizard' Jeff Mills vied for radio supremacy, Ken Collier was busy laying down the visionary groundwork that would eventually birth techno, defining the sound of generations to come and enriching an economically stagnant city with the invaluable cultural capital of dance music. Playing in predominantly gay and black clubs scattered across the Detroit metro area, Collier pushed the boundaries of genre definition and segregation as all the great programmers of our age have, infusing the landscape of American uptempo soul with the cold analog repetition of Europe's growing synth musics, the recognizable formula that occurred at that specific moment in American culture that lead down the inevitable road to house, techno and garage. But Collier was more than a historical agent that helped to create the predestined formula for electronic dance music to grow; he was, without a doubt, a brilliant and absolutely visionary disco DJ who epitomized the grassroots music community of 1970s & 1980s Detroit, a man of impeccable aural genius that introduced, championed and eternalized many of the indisputable classics that typify this very special city of the middle North. Focusing on the life source of all dance music, the club, and maintaining this as his immovable base of operations, Collier was the first DJ in Detroit to play the first techno records proper, combining these otherworldly discoveries with the solid foundations of soulful dance that he had been laboring to concretize for years previous at such legendary clubs as Todd's and Heaven, where he held residencies. Indeed, Collier was always ahead of the curb in this way, a knack that earned him city-wide supremacy among those heads really 'in-the-know.' To him, this new style was a definite break with the past -- but still rooted firmly in the same common roots as archetypal disco, having the creative intuitiveness to integrate this music seamlessly with the classics he had already eternalized through his tireless years of work. Unfettered by the constrictions of radio play and loyal to the deeply discerning gay underground that ruled the U.S.'s underground at that time, Collier was the most inventive and forward-looking DJ in Detroit, period. His death in 1996 was an absolute tragedy and an undeniable loss for the dance music community at large, occurring just as his due recognition was coming about. But fame was never his aim, as with any sincere artist devoted entirely to his work; the creative spirit of his breathtaking DJ sets and ingenious though underappreciated production and remixing work speaks for itself. Despite all obstacles, the re-writing of histories and the lost memories of a generation dissipated in time, his legacy has lived on to this day, passed down through faint whispers and guarded secrets of the true underground, a quiet but ceaseless wind that has finally come around once more with this deserved 12" compilation tribute to some of the legend's greatest work." Tracklist: A1. Tell Me That I'm Dreaming; B1. Ride The Rhythm; B2. Happy Days