The Birth of Techno: A gateway to a larger piece about the evolution of techno following the death of hardstyle.
Sampling, synthesis, and electronic music have come to the forefront of music production in the last 70 years. With the advent of digital sampling machines and synthesizers, a new world of sound was created that has never been heard before. The beginning of electronic music is found in the experiments of musique concrete and minimalism in the 1950s and 1960s as composers pushed for new ways to create sound.
The early experiments with electronic instruments quickly led to some commercial success. In 1970, Wendy Carlos released an album called Switched on Bach that featured classic Baroque pieces played entirely on a Moog synthesizer. The album went on to sell more than one million copies and won three Grammy awards. It also opened up a whole new genre of music fans who were interested in hearing this strange new sounds coming from machines instead of traditional instruments.
Electronic music reached its peak popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s with groups like Kraftwerk and Gary Numan who used synthesizers to create pop songs that became hits around the world.
The rise of Detroit Techno, or the birth of techno, came from the minds of three artists, one of which has passed away. You may have heard his name before, Jay Denham. He was one of the three main artists of this time, who also included Derrick May and Juan Atkins. All three were born in Detroit and all three were heavily influenced by Parliament Funkadelic.
While attending Belleville High School in Belleville Michigan, Atkins and May met each other and learned about electronics from each other. Both were fascinated by the synthesizer that played a prominent role in the music they loved, especially Kraftwerk and George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic. They would eventually use their knowledge to produce electronic music that mimicked the sounds they were listening to at the time.
In 1981, Atkins produced Cybotron’s Enter with Richard Davis. They released their first single “Cosmic Cars” which became a club hit later licensed to Fantasy Records. He then left Cybotron in 1983 because he was not getting enough recognition as an artist for his work on their record album.
Atkins began working on his own tracks with a drum machine and an analog synthesizer under the name Model 500 in 1985 after leaving Cybotron.
The birth of techno music is widely accredited to the release of a song called ‘Techno City’ by Cybotron back in 1983. It was a record that had been birthed out of the underground music scene in Detroit, Michigan, and it was a sound that would change electronic music forever.
Cybotron had been formed by two musicians named Juan Atkins and Richard Davis. Atkins was 17 years old when he formed Cybotron with Davis, who was just one year older than him. They met at high school in Belleville, Michigan, but their real passion was for music. While they were studying on an arts programme at the University of Detroit, they began to make electronic music together under the name Cybotron. In 1980 they released one of their most famous tracks called ‘Alleys Of Your Mind’ which would end up being the first ever record to feature the word “techno” in its lyrics.
The following year, when both men were 19 years old, they released their first record as Cybotron on Fantasy Records. The A-side was a track called ‘Cosmic Cars’ and the B-side featured a song called ‘Techno City’. What made this song so
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States during the mid-to-late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno in reference to a specific genre of music was in 1988. Many styles of techno now exist, but Detroit techno is seen as the foundation upon which a number of subgenres have been built.
Techno is generally repetitive instrumental music, often produced for use in a continuous DJ set. The central rhythmic component is most often in common time (4/4), where time is marked with a bass drum on each quarter note pulse, a backbeat played by snare or clap on the second and fourth pulses of the bar, and an open hi-hat sounding every second eighth note.
In Detroit techno, the kick drum has a longer decay than in other genres such as house music and trance, revealing the influence of Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express” on Detroit’s approach to electronic music. Hi-hats are often open, producing distinctive clicks or “flams”, but can also be closed depending on the tempo and rhythm pattern being used.
Vince Watson is an electronic music composer and producer born in Glasgow, Scotland. He has produced music for over 20 years. He grew up in a musical family where he was exposed to all types of music from a young age. He played trombone and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland before attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where he studied classical piano and graduated with honors.
At the end of the 1980s, Vince Watson discovered the emerging acid house scene in Glasgow which inspired him to start making his own music. In 1989, he began producing tracks using equipment such as Roland TB-303 basslines, TR-808 drum machines, Korg M1 synths, Casio Juno 106 polysynth and Akai S950 samplers to name a few.
His first release was on his own label Biosphere Records in 1992. In 1993, he signed to Blanco Y Negro Records releasing several records under various aliases on labels such as Hooj Choons, Big Time International, Kinetic Records and Global Cuts as well as remixing artists including The Shamen, Masters at Work and T-Empo among others.
In 1996 Vince Watson moved to Amsterdam to work with techno pioneers Underground Resistance. There he produced
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production, an electronic musician being a musician who composes and/or performs such music. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means (electroacoustic music) and that produced using electronics only.
Electronic music was once associated almost entirely with Western art music, but from the late 1960s on the availability of affordable music technology meant that music produced using electronic means became increasingly common in the popular domain. Today electronic music includes many varieties and ranges from experimental art music to popular forms such as electronic dance music.
After several decades of being associated with academic or art music, electronic music gained popularity in the popular domain in the 1980s, as a more accessible form of musical experimentation. Today, it is often associated with genres such as techno, house, ambient, trip hop and industrial, although it continues to absorb influences from a wide range of genres.
The term “electronic music” was coined by American composer Halim El-Dabh in a 1958 article entitled “Electronic Music: A New Medium for Music.” The term has come to refer to any kind of experimental electronic or electric instrumentation.
However, electronic instruments were used by
In the mid-20th century Detroit became a center of manufacturing, and with it came an influx of many different cultures, including African Americans and immigrants from Europe. These populations brought with them their own traditions and cultural expressions, among them music. Blues, jazz and soul music were a big part of the culture that developed in this area.
In the late 1960’s, when the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, there was an influx of drugs, which in turn led to the rise of small groups of drug dealers who began to control parts of the city. These groups became known as “gangs” or “crews”. In order to get people to their parties, these crews would throw events called “Jams” which were essentially block parties that would utilize a generator and a sound system. These Jams would become popular within the community for several reasons; firstly because drugs were being sold at these events, secondly because people could enjoy themselves without worrying about being harassed by police (the gang members would take care of that), and lastly because these were some of the only places where people could hear their kind of music.
These Jams started out as small gatherings but soon grew in popularity to hundreds if not thousands of people attending each week. The house parties