“Techno is probably the first form of contemporary black music which categorically breaks with the old heritage of soul music. Unlike Chicago House, which has a lingering obsession with Seventies Philly, and unlike New York hip-hop with its deconstructive attack on James Brown’s back-catalogue, Detroit Techno refutes the past. It may have a special place for Parliament and Pete Shelly, but it prefers tomorrow’s technology to yesterday’s heroes. Techno is a post-soul sound…For the young black underground in Detroit, emotion crumbles at the feet of technology. …Despite Detroit’s rich musical history, the young techno stars have little time for the golden era of Motown. Juan Atkins of Model 500 is convinced there is little to be gained from the motor-city legacy… “Say what you like about our music,” says Blake Baxter, “but don’t call us the new Motown…we’re the second coming.”
– an excerpt from an 1988 issue of Cosgrove Magazine
I admit that techno is a sound I didn’t initially get, not to say that I get it now, more so I’m in the process of understanding still. Let’s face it, as much as I am a vehement fan of House & Disco, these sounds are easy to relate to. You have the rhythm, the percussion, the hi hats, the low hats, the sometimes cheesy disco diva vocals – just to name a few. All these elements entice you to the dance floor, all these elements can make you dance! Not to say that techno doesn’t have these characteristics, they very well can. I guess what I’m trying to say is that techno has complexity to it that makes you think. Kind of like an acquired taste.
It is said that techno is an intellectual approach to electronic music, rather than let you loose yourself in critical thinking, here are a couple of massive Motor City techno tunes and Kraftwerk’s Trans Europa Express, which is often cited by Detroit-heads as something that influenced techno’s inception.
Sonics: Model 500 – Light speed
Sonics: Kraftwerk – Trans Europa Express
Insights: Cosgrove Magazine, 1988 issue