The brainchild of veteran producers Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani, Metro Area was born out of the pair’s somewhat dichotomous love for both the old moods of R&B, disco and boogie and the more cutting-edge sound of innovative house and techno. Metro Area brings back the soulful experimentation of the early club classics, mixing live and electronic instruments. Simultaneously, the mood and minimalism of more recent dance music forms creep into the mix: Detroit’s cold futurism, Chicago’s abstract track-modes, and the warmth of New York and New Jersey’s deep house.
After over a year of late-night sessions in New Jersey and Manhattan, Metro Area burst onto the scene in 1999 with their self-titled debut 12″ featuring the cult smash “Atmosphrique.” With an angular bassline underpinned by a grungy 4/4 disco beat and the most distinctive claps this side of 1977, “Atmosphrique” sounds futuristic and retro at the same time, and spawned myriad heated debates concerning the record’s production date. Most of all, it left both DJs and dancers wanting more.
However, the runaway success of Metro Area’s MA 4 EP (released November 2001) surpassed all expectation, not least the duo’s own. The feature track “Miura”, a sinister, spare and pulsating antidote to the melancholic sweetness of their previous release, captured the imagination of a broad cross-section of DJs, dancers and listeners from almost every genre. Ubiquitously charted and still played with reverence today, “Miura” fueled sales of over 16,000 copies of the EP to date. It should be noted here that in keeping with Metro Area’s low-profile tradition, not a single promo was mailed out to stimulate sales: the frenzy was created purely by word-of-mouth.
Exactly a year after Metro Area 4, Metro Area’s self-titled debut album finally emerged. Comprised of the strongest tracks from their 12″ series plus 4 new tracks, the CD/LP elicited superlative responses from The New York Times to The Onion, from Web-logs to The Wire. Metro Area won a place among Rolling Stone’s “Top 50 Albums of the 2002,” a rock-and rap-dominated area most of today’s dance music falls short of. Other accolades included BBC/Radio 1’s “Dance Album of the Year” and the “Best New Artist” prize at the 2003 DanceStar/American Dance Awards.
June 2004’s MA5 and June 2005’s MA6 EPs are already being touted as an extension of their sparkling tradition of redefining, refining and re-shaping their influences. The duo’s remix of Hugh Masekela’s “Mama” for Verve Remixed 2 was hailed as an elegant and innovative treatment of a classic recording, proving that Metro Area is more of an ethic than a production style and prompting Verve to release it and the original as its own 12″ single.
Besides their work in the studio, Metro Area have toured extensively, both together as a live PA and DJ team and separately as DJs, playing their distinct and individualistic style to crowds from Norway to South Africa. Currently staying busy with continued touring, solo remixes from Morgan and Darshan, new studios in Brooklyn, solo and side projects and the imminent release of a new Metro Area album, the music world can rest assured that Metro Area will continue to rock theories of time and space.