Commemorating DJ Baker
In what is sad news for the entire techno community, DJ, producer and label owner Tim Baker passed away suddenly on April 4th. Baker was a staple of the techno and house scene for 30 years with an international career that speaks for itself. We pay tribute to his music genius by remembering his path and suggesting some of his finer tunes.
The Detroit born artist became involved in the scene in the 80’s, as Techno was growing and evolving as a genre. He first played parties when he was a student at Eastern Michigan University. Once he graduated with a marketing degree he debuted his clothing line for the club called Elephanthaus in 1993, which specialised in clubwear that drew inspiration from Detroit nightlife. He then turned it into a store.
Year of parties and production
His career in production started with Elephanthuas, which became his first record label. That is where he released his debut record, Black Machines EP, in 1997. 1998 found him and his girlfriend in Chicago and that is where they launched a house label called Real Estate Records. He released multiple of his own records and numbers on the label but also in other famous names such as Ovum, Minifunk, Holzplatten and NovaMute over the years. Strangely enough, he also produced under the aliases Fun Police and Tiger Balm.
Nectarine in Ann Arbor was his first residency, where during 1987 and 1988 he shared a booth with Jeff Mills. Fast forward six years later he was playing his first parties at Tresor, surpassing borders and boundaries. In an interview in 2000, Baker talked about his first time playing Tresor during the 90’s: “It was probably my first performance outside of the United States. I had been playing music for an hour and I looked at people and saw all the German clubbers dancing and having a good time. And I was like - Wow, here I am, a guy from Detroit on the other side of the world doing something that I love."
He also played at other famous nightclubs around the world, truly fulfilling an international career. Spain’s Florida135 and Paris’ Rex Club, as well as big events such as the Sónar Festival in Barcelona, Berlin’s Love Parade and the Detroit Music Festival were just a few of the places that he blasted his sound.
His tracks are known for the funky bounce that he incorporated in them. He gained a reputation for productions that had zero flaws, drawing influence and inspiration from hometown names such as Derrick May and Jeff Mills. His sound incorporated all different aspects of techno and ticked multiple boxes, something unique that determined his style. For the active listeners of Detroit techno and the ones that come from the 90’s, Baker is more than a DJ; he is a symbol and trademark of an era.
Most of the tracks that illustrate his identity come from the era that defined Detroit techno. However, the DJ was still active today. His most recent track is a melodic techno remix of Álvaro Pastore‘s “A Place For Rolls”, released on Crazy Addict Germany on March 17th.
For a big part of the community this is a great loss. Although we cannot bring him back, we certainly pay tribute to his music genius by blasting his tracks.
Here are some more suggestions: