Rhythim Is Rhythim

As the name under which Derrick May produced his many prototypical techno classics in the late '80s, Rhythim Is Rhythim remains one of the most esteemed guises in techno's short history. Though the handful of Rhythim Is Rhythim classics are primarily the product of May's forward-looking sense of musical creativity, it is important to remember that there were occasional contributors. Most significantly, some of Carl Craig's earliest production work appears on the Rhythim Is Rhythm tracks "Drama," "Kaotic Harmony," and the 1989 version of "Strings of Life." In addition, Thomas Barnett and Mike James contributed to "Nude Photo" and "Strings of Life," respectively, while D-Wynn collaborated with May for the Rhythim Is Rhythim spin-off R-Thyme ("R-Theme" and "Illusion"). Yet for the most part, it was entirely May's gifted vision as an innovator that led to one Rhythim Is Rhythim classic after another. Beginning with "Nude Photo" as the first release on his Transmat label, May produced nothing but classics in his short life as a producer from 1986 to 1991. During this period, "Nude Photo" and the piano-driven "Strings of Life," in particular, became anthems in England's exploding late-'80s rave scene. Other less anthemic songs such as "Beyond the Dance (Cult Mix)," "It Is What It Is," and "Icon (Montage Mix)" were championed for their mystical sound, consisting simply of synthesizer melodies and light percussive rhythms. In 1998, May compiled the majority of his Rhythim Is Rhythim songs on the Innovator double album. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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