As One

Kirk Degiorgio is one of the lesser recognized but most prolific and progressive players in the U.K. techno underground. While his visionary fusions of Detroit soul and cold, crystalline tech on albums such as Reflections and Celestial Soul, two of the earliest albums credited to As One, earned him a strong reputation as a producer, Degiorgio was influential on the label front. Applied Rhythmic Technologies (A.R.T.) and Op-Art contributed greatly to the birth and continued vitality of the U.K. experimental techno/electronica scenes more frequently credited to larger labels like Rephlex and Warp. Formed in 1991, A.R.T. released early tracks from the Black Dog and B12, and helped bring wider attention to a core of U.K. artists who worked in a vein inspired by (but not simply reducible to) the music's Detroit originators. Although the label gained wider acknowledgment through co-release projects with names such as Rephlex, B12, and New Electronica (with two label comps titled Objets d'Art released on the latter), A.R.T. remained something of a connoisseur's choice, with limited releases that tended to disappear soon after they were released. Degiorgio slowed A.R.T.'s already leisurely release schedule in 1996, established Op-Art as a more artist-oriented label geared toward wider exposure, and reactivated A.R.T. during the late 2000s. With his own material, Degiorgio has released albums and EPs under an assortment of aliases through A.R.T., R&S, Mo' Wax, and several other labels elevated by his output. Much of Degiorgio's music has dwelled on a split affinity for Carl Craig/Derrick May-style Detroit gear and an ongoing commitment to the experimental jazz and funk fusions of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. His late-'90s and early-2000s material moved progressively to the fringes of techno/jazz fusion, particularly in the increasingly bold keyboard work, highlighted by The Message in Herbie's Shirts (1996), Planetary Folklore (1997), and 21st Century Soul (2001). Degiorgio rounded up the majority of his As One discography for digital release with the four-volume As One-Thology series (2013-2014). Almost as notable is Degiorgio's additional activity as a DJ, compilation producer, and bandleader. He began spinning records in the early-'80s, his sets known to range from purist disco to deep techno. His commercially released mixes include the expansive Check One (1996) and Synthesis (1998), as well as Mixed by Machine (2015), a reflection of the strictly contemporary approach of his and Ben Sims' Machine club night. Along with mate Ian O'Brien, Degiorgio put together three volumes of The Soul of Science (2000-2003), unmixed compilations that helped connect the dots between jazz and techno. Joined by O'Brien, Jinadu, and Thomas O'Grady, among others, Degiorgio also devoted time to the Beauty Room, an act that specialized in lavishly arranged hybrids of soul, folk, and soft rock. ~ Sean Cooper & Andy Kellman

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