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Eddie 'Flashin' Fowlkes

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Though he was present at the birth of Detroit techno, Eddie "Flashin" Fowlkes was often overlooked in favor of the more press-hyped "Belleville Three" (Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson). Still, Fowlkes' template of futuristic techno blended with elements of mellow deep house and a touch of Motown soul was name-checked with surprising frequency by British and German producers aware of the debt they owed to Detroit's first guard. The style, dubbed "black technosoul" by Fowlkes himself, was illustrated in hilarious fashion on the cover of an LP as some kind of interplanetary switched-at-birth scenario. A big fan of Motown and soul while growing up, Fowlkes began mixing while still in high school and made the move to become a full-time DJ after a stint in business college. He often DJed at the fabled Detroit club Music Institute and first recorded in 1986 with the "Goodbye Kiss" single for Juan Atkins' Metroplex Records. Fowlkes also recorded for KMS, 430 West (the seminal single "Inequality"), and Play It Again Sam during the late '80s and early '90s, and released his debut full-length, the hard and soul LP Serious Techno, Vol. 1, in 1991. After several Detroit producers experienced tremendous success abroad, Fowlkes gained an album contract with Germany's Tresor Records and recorded in Berlin with the in-house production team 3MB (aka Moritz Von Oswald and Thomas Fehlmann), resulting in 1993's The Birth of Technosoul. Another LP from the sessions (Deep Detroit Techno-Soul, Vol. 1) emerged that same year, and Fowlkes began recording for other European labels like Infonet, Back to Basics, and Peacefrog as well. His third album for Tresor, Black Technosoul, followed in 1996. ~ John Bush