Techno music -- we’re not talking commercial electro crap like Deadmau5 and Skrillex that is right now gaining mainstream popularity in the US -- is and has been primarily a European thing. The acid house scene in England and techno scene in Berlin made it great. Yet, the roots of techno are firmly in America, in particularly the former industrial metropolis of Detroit. Here, in the early 1980s, a couple of black dj’s later named the Belleville Three listened to Kraftwerk (admittedly, very European) and Chicago house, and turned it into something stripped-down and industrial that reflected the place in which they were living.
NPR -- that’s the American public broadcaster -- has a nice feature on its website with 10 of the most essential Detroit techno tracks. A couple of illustrious names from the Detroit scene like Juan Atkins, Carl Craig and Jeff Mills (who can still be found dj’ing regularly all around Europe) write about these tracks. It’s nice to hear this and notice how tribal and spacey everything sounds. But this is the basis for today’s sound.
Here’s a couple of highlights: