In a city full of talented DJs and producers, DJ Bone manages to stand out. The Detroit native is a hugely talented spinner and his three-deck, vinyl sets are on the same level for technical prowess as Mills and May. This writer originally became aware of his skills via the Subject Detroit Volume 2 mix CD issued on the now dormant Eukatech label back in 2000, where he rampaged his way through nearly 30 Detroit (or Detroit-influenced) tracks in one take. Bone had started DJing long before that, but in a pre-podcast era, the mix was one of the first opportunities that a European audience had to hear his skills.

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Following that CD, he became a regular visitor to Europe and up close in a club, his DJing sounds even more incendiary. Since the mid-90s, Bone’s Subject Detroit label has been home to his hard-hitting style – and to the work of some of his close associates – and it is unusual for him to put out records for any label beyond his tight network.

While this new DIFFER-ENT project for the Don’t Be Afraid label marks a change in this habit, it doesn’t see him alter his sound. “Different(Ity)” is a typical peak-time track, led by booming kick drums, razor-sharp percussion and at its centre, a pounding, merciless bass that recalls Suburban Knight at his most hostile, belching out ominous intentions with an almost hallucinatory sense of malevolence.

“Different(Hrall)” is less full on and shows that Bone has a more musical side. The beats are looser, more organic – although still forceful – and provide the basis for niggling acid lines and minor key notes that swirl and flow seductively. Having said that, the same restlessness that typifies all of his productions propels “Different(Hrall)” – to paraphrase one of Bone’s peers, it’s a groove that just won’t stop, the hallmark of this vastly talented Detroit DJ.

Richard Brophy


A1. Different(Hrall)
B1. Different(Ity)