The two producers hooked up through internet mailing lists. Since the mid-'90s, both producers had been active on their own. At their time of joining together, Geist
had his Environ label (started in 1995, while Geist
was still a student at Ohio's Oberlin College) and a series of acclaimed releases (including 1997's mamoth The Driving Memoirs, released on Clear) that were influenced by Detroit and U.K.-based techno. Jesrani hopped around from strumming air guitar to breakdancing until eventually getting involved with clubbing during late adolescence. He got into production with Manish Sehgal as Essa 3 and Acronym City, and released tracks on SubFreq and Penetrate during the mid-'90s. Geist
and Jesrani didn't surface in a collaborative sense until after a year's worth of sessions were under their belts. After a one-off as Sage, the duo put out the first Metro Area 12" in 1999.
Moving through 2001, the Brooklyn-based unit issued an additional trio of three-song 12" releases -- numbered simply in succession, Chicago-style -- that gradually caught fire in the dance community, appealing to new jacks and old jocks alike. Released on Environ, these small-scale pressings sold out in short time and didn't become collector's items based on scarcity alone. In October of 2002, the duo released their anticipated full-length debut; the CD version featured six edits of previously released tracks while adding four new cuts, and the double-vinyl edition featured the four new cuts along with four of the previously-released tracks. Three further EPs were released between 2004 and 2007, with the 43rd volume in the Fabric DJ-mix series issued in late 2008. During these years, both producers remained active outside MA. Geist
released a solo album, Double Night Time, while fielding the occasional remix assignment; Jesrani remixed Escort, worked with Everything But the Girl's Tracy Thorn, and collaborated with Escort's Dan Balis as Arcade Lover. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi