Techno-The-New-Dance-Sound-Of-Detroit History

Techno music is a musical genre born in Detroit, Michigan (USA), in the 1980s and from the electronic dance music (EDM) in turn divided into countless sub genres, according to various characteristics of rhythmic, melodic and sound type.

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The origins of the name are to be found in Detroit and Berlin in the early 1980s. The Detroit techno is still a genre highly appreciated, and its founders the current scene has her whole life: Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson and the second wave Jeff Mills, Carl Craig and Richie Hawtin. “Techno” is short for “technologic”, as it is music which makes use of technological tools a main peculiarity.

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The main difference between techno (short for “technologic”) and house (from Warehouse, local historian of Chicago) is that while techno dance music defines a genre whose legacy goes to found in Kraftwerk and other European musical reality related somehow to rock with the characteristic of using synthetic sound (generated by signals and not acoustic vibrations), house defines this music born from the marriage of drum machines and samples of disks already inscribed belong to disco scene/latina/black. This is the only difference between those who divide the world of techno and house along with the musical scenes, connoted by the geographical affiliation to Detroit (techno) and Chicago (house) in the early 1980s. In this aspect the story is not without its anecdotes, first of all when, during one of the famous baseball meetings between Detroit and Chicago techno supporters burned tons of old vinyl disc with cries of “Disco Sucks” (alluding to the pun between “Sucks” and Sox of Chicago White Sox, the team’s name).

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In the 1990s, when electronic music Ballroom comes to Europe with the London acid house phenomenon, that of hardcore in the Netherlands, the progressive in Italy (80/90), and when by the United States begin to arrive very soft dance productions and clearly funk, techno is used to define the name, than the house , more aggressive productions, in line with the production of labels such as Belgian Bonzai, who is King of the scene through the early 1990s.

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It was not until the late 1990s, when tougher dance productions will begin to be called through definitions of subcategory (trance, hardstyle, hardcore, progressive) and only then techno returns the definition used to define the electronic music dance floor totally independent from the stage musical as funk or disco, exactly how you described the scene of Detroit ‘ 80s. With the Prodigy, English band that is imposed on the global market as a real techno band between 1994 and 1998, scope rock music critics realize how strong the bond between this music and them and try to steal intellectually of techno coining, for example, the term big beat, techno band which includes term almost exclusively as the Prodigy , Chemical Brothers and others.

The Founders

Deserve space who are considered the founders of techno music — Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson

Of the three, Juan Atkins was the first to come into contact with music, with Group Cybotron. The first track of Cybotron, “Alleys of Your Mind” was released in 1981, it is a track with European electro synth-pop-influenced setting.

Juan Atkins and Rick Davis (the other component of Cybotron) were infatuated by the theories of sociologist, futurist, Alvin Toffler, particularly in the theories of Toffler, exposed in the book: the third wave. The duo of Cybotron were fascinated by statements in Toffler where argued that the future would belong to “techno-Renegades of society”: rebels able to enslave society for your purpose. These issues are set out in the first Album by Cybotron: “Enter” of 1983, which includes the songs: Clear, Cosmic Cars. Shortly after the release of the Album, the band released a 12 ‘ inches from the evocative title, Techno city (1984).

Rick Davis decides to go into such a guitarist John Davis Howesley Cybotron (great lover of Jimi Hendrix) rechristened John 5 (Rick Davis called himself “3070” and Juan Atkins “One”), the band’s rock for a breakthrough. At this point, Juan Atkins, fascinated by electronic instruments went and founded his personal band renamed himself: Model 500 (an appropriate appellation does not “ethnic”) and his own record label in turn renamed: “Metroplex”, in which recorded the song that marked the birth of techno: “No UFO’s” (1985).

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Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson which know show solidarity for common musical preferences. This “bizarre” trio of African Americans who lived in a suburb of Detroit (Belleville), loved the European sound: from synth-pop band Visage, Gary Numan, Human League to Germans Kraftwerk up to Italian italo disco as Capricorn and Klein & M.B.O.

On this basis, the trio broke up into various pseudonyms and entrepreneurial activities: Derrick May founded the Transmat Records with whom he recorded under pseudonym Rhythim Is Rhythim “Nude Photo” and the popular “Strings Of Life”; Kevin Saunderson founded KMS Records and released several works with various pseudonyms from Kreem Reese & Santonio until project Inner City that made it famous worldwide Techno from Detroit with the song “Big fun” (1988).

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The definition of Techno music was unveiled in 1988 by Virgin Records who decided to learn about the house of Detroit, in fact until then, the tracks of the Detroit scene were listed “House”. The first draft of the album collection that later became, Techno-The New Dance Sound Of Detroit, was at first, The House Sound of Detroit, but Juan Atkins proposed the outright by the nickname “techno”

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The media began to take an interest in the Detroit techno music scene and in an interview with Derrick May, he proposed the definition of Techno into a joke: “this music is like Detroit, a complete mistake. It’s like George Clinton and Kraftwerk stuck in an elevator. ” Saw Juan Atkins with the statement: “I want my music sounds like two computers interconnected, I don’t want it to seem like a real band. It must sound as if she made a technician. Here’s what I am: a technician with human feelings “.

The Structure

A Techno track is laid out in a simple way: this is usually progressive overlay 1/2 long loops, 1, or 2 or more lines, generally following even numbers. The number of beats that make up the loop increases depending on the complexity of brano saught by the composer. It is essential the percussive section: a sound synthetic bass drum bass drum generally holds that emulates the strong times, sounds instead placed on acute held mid weak times. However, you must establish what techno you are talking about because if we consider the first songs listed with that name it is often different structural features of synthetic electronic tracks, often percussive baseless.

Detroit Techno

The Detroit techno, mother of techno as we know it today, is a kind away from the mainstream, and this meant that it would preserve intact. Identify with tracks of recent times elements such as sounds of Roland 909, minor chords to seventh with strong reverberations.


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In the late 1980s in Detroit there are two premises as a landmark of the electronic scene: the “Music Institute” and the “Shelter”. In the latter converge DJs and artists with names like John Acquaviva, Kenny Larkin, Dan Bell Canadian and Richie Hawtin which together give rise to the label “+ 8”. In the Music Institute will move the first steps the components of future label and musical collective: “Underground Resistance”.

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The first wave of Detroit Techno was influenced by electro, synth-pop, while the second wave of Detroit Techno, he felt closer to sound industrial and Electronic Body Music (or EBM) and groups such as: Meat Beat Manifesto, Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb. On this basis and influences the harshest sounds and hard and it also arose, the collective “Underground Resistance” had paramilitary shapes borrowed from image of “Public Enemy” and “Front 242” seasoned with slogan insurgency. With their first records with songs like Predator, Elimination (about Sonic EP, 1990) and especially with Riot takes shape a sound in tune with Euro-Hardcore European. This Alliance is established with the publication of the collection Album: Revolution for Change (1992) including all their classics in the first period.


The musical collective Underground Resistance (or your) had the backbone in: “Mad” Mike Banks, Jeff Mills and Robert Hood. In 1992 both Jeff Mills which Robert Hood dropping the adventure Underground Resistance to pursue a successful solo career, leaving UR just Mad Mike Banks.
Mills began a solo career that will take him to the pinnacle of world techno “projects which among others include: Waveform Transmission Vol. 1 (1992), Waveform Transmission Vol. 3 (1994), Kat Fashion EP (where you included the famous song “The Bells”, 1996), and later founded his own record label, on behalf of the Axis.

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Hood, before publishing a disc after his departure from UR waited 1 year, with “Waveform Transmission Vol. 2 “under pseudonym of The Vision, then followed in 1994 by the double album” Internal Empire “and finally a short distance from” Minimal Nation “, the latter signed on behalf of the same Robert Hood. These works became a reference point for subsequent electronic musical movement “minimal techno”.

Mad Mike Banks, continued, with a marked influence UR productions derived from science fiction readings, finding other worlds, rediscovery of roots. On the first side fall jobs illusionary Drexciya and the saga Red Planet. The Drexciyani would be soldiers amphibians struggling for African American people’s Liberation, all seasoned with Techno electro music in light of the more cerebral. The Drexciya from Gerald Donald (then in Dopplereffekt), and the elusive James Stinson also collaborate in The Martian Will Thomas group group that with the Red Planet back on the agenda the Cosmic sound of Sun Ra’s Jazz Orchestra with older lenses Techno, the result is a kind of Interstellar Blues.

Even more markedly jazz is the project Galaxy 2 Galaxy with which Mike Banks exploits Techno Jazz EP trials Nation to Nation (1991) can produce two tracks that do make history namely: “hi-tech Jazz” and “Journey Of The Dragons”. The biggest success of UR will arrive in 1999 with DJ Rolando namely: The Aztec Mystic. Which they released with the song “Jaguar” the greatest commercial success of UR. We should also mention the next EP by Underground Resistance such as: Millennium To Millennium (2001), Inspiration/Transition (2002) and Illuminator (2003).


In Detroit in the early days of second wave there were two musical collective Underground Resistance and Plus 8. The Plus 8 was largely formed by Canadians (John Acquaviva & Dan Bell) momentarily transferred to Detroit for the city’s musical effervescence of the engines, but continued his epic techno in Ontario in Canada. The only member of Detroit’s Plus 8 was Kenny Larkin, who released the album off the hook from the Plus 8, Warp Records historical Azimuth (1994), followed by Metaphor (1995), two albums of rare beauty.

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Remember to finish the Octave One with the songs I Believe (1990), Aztlan/DayStar Rising (1998), Blackwater (2001); the Suburban Knight by James Pennington with the songs “The Art Of Stalking (1990), Nocturbulous Behavior (1993) and last and not least, remembers Carl Craig, who under his own name and various pseudonyms became the mouthpiece and the innovator of Detroit techno, diverting the Techno Music towards more cerebral atmospheres and in some cases bordering on Jazz. Craig Innerzone Orchestra project music remembers “Bug in the Bass Bin (1992), then He’s albums (1995) and More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art (1997) and finally the Techno\House of project Paperclip People.