Patrick Russell and Derek Plaslaiko melting at a Detroit warehouse party circa 1996 (photo by Niki Zibisky)
If you've been paying attention to the well-informed house and techno milieu of the past few years, it's hard not to notice a trend towards previously undervalued Detroit DJs from the 90s, like Mike Servito and Jason Kendig, getting getting their long-overdue acclaim. This community collectively cut their teeth during the city's mid-90s rave renaissance era during which parties like Richie Hawtin's Jak series and promoter SYST3M's events ruled the underground. Now each approaching the age of 40, this loose group—unified by sound and birthplace—are becoming a driving force on global dance floors with their highly-schooled take on techno, house, and acid. Few of them still call Detroit home, but their 20-year-old bonds have proven impossible to break.
Cirkutry's certainly upholding those Midwestern ties on his latest release, the freshly dropped EP2, on the Louisville, Kentucky label Acoustic Division. The producer with the satirically-misspelled nom de DJ was born Rob Theakston and he spent a formative part of his 20s working for Carl Craig's Planet E label. He was intimately involved in throwing the inaugural Detroit Electronic Music Festival (now Movement) in 2000, and equally engaged in the protest that stemmed from Craig being fired as music director of the event in 2001. By 2003, Theakston packed his bags and moved to Kentucky where he settled down and started a family while working for the University of Kentucky.
Then suddenly in 2014, an EP of Godzilla-heavy techno by Cirkutry appeared as the ninth release on Acoustic Division, featuring a remix by long-time Ghostly International cohort Todd Osborn. Two years later, the next Cirkutry release has appeared, this time with remixes by fellow Detroit jocks Derek Plaslaiko, Patrick Russell and Jared Wilson. Wilson has been holding it down in Motown with his 7777 label for the past decade, while Plaslaiko and Russell each headed east to New York. Plaslaiko continued on to Berlin, where he now DJs on Boiler Room for 12 hours from his living room. Russell, meanwhile, played his first ever European gig in early February in the hallowed halls of Berghain, after making his overseas debut last year at Japan's mythical Labyrinth festival.
Best of all is the record's label artwork, which features a photo of Plaslaiko, along with another Detroit DJ alum, Carlos Souffront, who Theakston lovingly referred to as his "muse" on social media. Dive into the acidic wormhole of the "This Is Like Derek Plaslaiko's Remix" to hear how Detroit still gets it done.