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The Detroit Experiment

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Album Review

Following in the path of the Philadelphia Experiment, the Detroit Experiment is a multigenerational meeting of Motor City talent that casts its net far enough to include players from several fields of music. There are some genuinely electric and inspired moments scattered across the album, along with a few that are too tepid to generate much of a reaction, but the album is consistently laid-back and slickly executed throughout its entirety. Recorded during a five-day stretch by Carl Craig (techno wizard and Innerzone Orchestra leader), Karriem Riggins (drummer and member of venerable hip-hop production team the Ummah), and Aaron Levinson, the album includes participation from Regina Carter, Bennie Maupin, Marcus Belgrave, Francisco Mora, Allan Barnes, Amp Fiddler, and several others. With a roster of people like that on board, you know it's going to be steeped in jazz; however, there are several moments that make it an eclectic affair. After a great revamp of Belgrave's 1974 classic "Space Odyssey," the album opens up with a look at Donald Byrd's "Think Twice," which is radically overhauled as a relaxed, nocturnal house track, with soloing aplenty over the simple but leagues-deep rhythm. A transformation of Stevie Wonder's "Too High" is incredibly spacy, with Fiddler's voice often looming ominously over a spare arrangement. Originals like "There Is a God" (spotlighting Carter's sad but redemptive violin) and "Vernors" (a swaggering hip-hop instrumental with light additions from several of the instrumentalists) also add more colors. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the references to Detroit are all but countless; they're in the song titles, they're in the actual songs, and they're also peppered throughout the lyrics of "The Way We Make Music" (female MC Invincible scores bonus points for throwing in the New Dance Show). Though it's dotted by some merely pleasant but unengaging work, the remainder makes this unique record fascinating for music fans of all ages.

Customer Reviews


I appreciate this work of art for the musical history that Detroit has. A real lover of Hip Hop, Jazz, and House will go nuts over this project. If you get it, you'll love it . . . but I can see where a younger cat (Under 30) just wouldn't get the big fuss . . . If J Dilla, Carl Kraig, Regina Carter, Marcus Belgrave, or Donald Byrd mean anything to you . . . You get the brilliance of this piece.


This is a great album, and I'm proud to say it came out of my home town. Its deeply rhythmic and takes me on an emotional roller coaster every time I listen. "There is a God" is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard. Thank you!

Pretty Incredible range for one album

Not as incredible as the Philadelphia Experiment, this is still a great album from the folks at Rope a Dope and superstar Producer Aaron Levinson. Just getting all these motown cats from different generations, different genres, and different labels together on one album was an achievement. Most of the songs are interesting and genre-breaking in the least, and absolutely sublime in some cases. Think Twice is definitely my favorite track, but Highest is pretty great too.


Formed: Detroit, MI

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Like the Philadelphia Experiment before it, the Detroit Experiment featured the involvement of several musicians from the city it was named after. After all was recorded and pressed, its range of artists proved to be more diverse than that of The Philadelphia Experiment, boasting names from the fields of jazz, rap, and techno. Over the course of five days, techno pioneer Carl Craig (Paperclip People, Innerzone Orchestra) and producer/percussionist Karriem Riggins (Slum Village, Common) recorded a...
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The Detroit Experiment, The Detroit Experiment
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Customer Ratings