Techno Essentials

Techno Essentials

Techno has taken many forms over the years: the stargazing fantasia of its Detroit pioneers; the stripped-down exactitude of minimal; the scorched-earth brutalism of its hardest incarnations By and large, techno represents dance music at its most focused and fat-free: Just powerful, pumping machine grooves and commanding synths, sculpted to achieve maximum dance-floor hypnosis. The genre was born in black Midwestern communities in the '80s, as the style’s innovators—Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May—set about translating American funk and European synth-pop to newly affordable electronic gear. Outside the underground, the style languished in the U.S., but it flourished across Europe in the ’90s and ’00s, spawning dub techno, Berlin techno, and dozens of further offshoots. In the late ’10s, as a new generation of EDM fans turned its tastes to darker, steelier grooves, techno began infiltrating festival stages worldwide via crossover artists like Ellen Allien and Amelie Lens. But it’s a subterranean sound at heart, one that thrives in opposition and, like its creators, takes the DIY ethos as a matter of pride.

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