Darren "Daz-I-Kue" Benjamin's relocation to Atlanta last year was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. As a member of Bugz in the Attic, the groundbreaking collective that helped pioneer broken beat, Daz-I-Kue has worked on dozens of underground hits, from the disco funk anthem "Tell Him" (produced under the pseudonym BB Boogie) to the dubbed-out "Rokstone (Soon Come)." His arrival has given fresh energy to the city's small, tightly knit electronic music scene.
Originally from North West London, Daz-I-Kue visited Atlanta as part of the Bugz in the Attic DJ tour for its 2003 mix CD, Fabriclive.12. "I stayed at [Karl Injex's] house," he remembers. "The first time I came to Atlanta, I fell in love with it. I met a young lady as well." Eventually, he and the young lady, Indra Tobias, fell in love and got married in 2005. But Daz-I-Kue continued to travel between here and the U.K. until last year, when he decided to become a U.S. resident.
While little-known outside the dance-music world, Bugz in the Attic is a hugely influential crew. The collective's pioneering take on broken beat — a soulful blend of free jazz and funk, techno and house, and drum-and-bass and hip-hop — has influenced countless artists, from the Roots to Zero 7.
Karl Injex, a respected local DJ, says his friend Daz-I-Kue's move here is "quite significant." He notes that Daz's production and engineering work for artists from different genres creates a unique synergy. "The potential for interesting developments is definitely there," Injex says.
Daz-I-Kue has already begun to collaborate with Atlanta artists of every stripe. In addition to solo projects, including a forthcoming album for Om Records, he has remixed tracks for Afrobeat/hip-hop musician Wale Oyejide, soul singers Heston and Alex Lattimore, and rap duo Dip-N-Steam.
"People always put [black music] in boxes, like, this is R&B, this is hip-hop, this is house, when really, truly it's all black music," he says. "What I'm trying to do is relate that to everybody."
Daz-I-Kue performs during "Stones Throw's Move" w/ J. Rocc, Egon and Karl Injex. $10. Sat., Feb. 23. 9 p.m. Django, 495 Peachtree St. 404-347-8648. www.djangoatlanta.com.