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Dan Bell has been a top minimalist Detroit producer from his beginnings as a critical member of Richie Hawtin's Plus 8 Records to his recording of an all-time classic, 1994's "Losing Control" (as DBX) to the foundation of his own Seventh City and Accelerate labels. Born in Sacramento, he grew up near Detroit and was influenced by the sound of techno on Motor City radio during the '80s. Bell began DJing, bought recording equipment, and entered the production world with a job at a recording studio while attending Niagara College near Toronto. Though the work was mostly for hip-hop groups, Bell often worked overtime and produced his own tracks.
The Button Down Mind of Daniel BellHe had a few productions of his own by 1991, when he moved back to Detroit and met Richie Hawtin. Bell joined Hawtin's new Plus 8 label, and produced several of the imprint's famed early singles ("Technarchy," "Cabaret Seven"), recording with Hawtin and John Acquaviva as Cybersonik. His back-to-basics approach to hard minimalistic techno fit in well with Hawtin's aesthetic. After leaving Plus 8 to form his own Accelerate Records in 1992, Bell began recording as DBX. Singles like "Blip," "Flying Saucer," and "Electric Shock" became hot with DJs from Chicago as well as Detroit. In 1994, Peacefrog released two DBX EPs ("Alien," "Losing Control"). Though "Losing Control" became one of the biggest underground smashes of the decade, Bell's move into the distribution game (by rejuvenating Seventh City as a record distributor) took away valuable production time. Even while the venture soon became one of the main worldwide distributors for Detroit techno, it grew so successful that Bell was forced to put his recording career on hold. He was back on wax by 1996, recording for DS and Klang Electron as well as Accelerate. Unfortunately, Seventh City distribution folded and in 1998 Bell returned his concentration to production with the single "Subterranean/The Wild Life/Beserk." Two years later he followed with a mix CD, The Button Down Mind of Daniel Bell, released on Tresor Records.