Bleep's History of Techno

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Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 12 Aug 2012, 19:19

A thread where I post great techno records both old and new. I'm going to start with the genesis of the genre, all the way back in the 70's... some of the tracks on here might make their way onto a compilation for you to d/l or something.



Techno was born in a musical sense with the advent of the sequencer. Although the technology had been around for some years (most notably used by Raymond Scott the decade before), it was the invention of the step-sequencer and in particular the microcomposers by Roland in 1977 that heralded the advent of accurate rhythm tracks that would allow DJs the control they required to blend records without continually having to adjust the pitch to keep them in time. Although there's no doubt that the home-studio, industrially tinged aesthetic of TG, Cab Voltaire and various other European acts had a definitive impact on Techno in the 80's, it's difficult to argue against the fact that the dancefloors of New York, Rimini and Montreal would be the crucible in which the genesis of techno was created.

Kraftwerk had created their own sequencers for Trans Europe Express, but it wouldn't be until The Man Machine that they honed their sounds to a more refined crispness, in particular for the arpeggiated cosmic sound of Spacelab..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7wUlWrfs9w

Giorgio Moroder took sequenced dancefloor trance to a new level with his From here to Eternity album, in particular with the immense, if shortlived, Utopia


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbXuwB97asY


Whilst in Japan, YMO were using all that electronic equipment to make pop music, but with a decidedly dancefloor edge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbtEjhCOFPs


In Montreal of all places (helped by a burgeoning club scene), the electronic aspect of disco was beginning to make an impact - a vein that would then be mined eventually by the Italians in the next decade. Sampling was now a widespread studio production tool, making its way into these electronic productions.

http://discodelivery.blogspot.co.uk/200 ... treal.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ap7OOd9Cxk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU0jXccJ4ow

The French were getting in on the electronic disco sound too..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Uja6ItUMZU


By the end of the decade though, disco's central momentum in the cities of New York had dissapated, at least in a commercial sense. An inevitable musical splicing would take place, with Larry Levan's more soulful, eclectic DJing style at the Paradise Garage in particular heralding a new direction. Frankie Knuckles, an up and coming DJ in NYC, left the city and headed to Chicago to see if he could make it as a DJ there. Detroit's own disco scene was so underground it was very hard to find, but they had their own spinner the legendary and very influential Ken Collier....
Last edited by Toby on 04 Sep 2012, 21:33, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Toby » 13 Aug 2012, 19:48

Although Kraftwerk are a vital, essential part of techno's double-helix make up, Detroit teenager Juan Atkins would be responsible for naming the term, having read Alvin Toffler's Future Shock in his youth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ghzomm15yE


If Disco's funk-orientated roots would flower again via labels such as Salsoul and Prelude in NYC courtesy of Larry Levan and producers such as Francois K, in both Chicago and Detroit, things would have slightly more unexpected results. We'll deal with Chicago later, because the difference between early house music (the eytmology of the term would come from a record shop section where people would ask for records played by Frankie Knuckles at the Warehouse) and techno in the mid-eighties are quite slim.

Italo-Disco, a naive form of electronic disco that started to emerge in the late 70's, took hold in the subterranean disco scene of Detroit. Exotic, expensive foreign imports, these records were played by a DJ called Ken Collier and became increasingly sought after. Many of the proteges of techno and house from the city, from Delano Smith and Mike Clark to Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Carl Craig would buy records off Collier as young teenagers, the sounds influencing their future productions. The unusual, stripped down pop aesthetic of Italo would have a major impact and influence on what would become Detroit techno.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SnR5KFtwt4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiDICZlQfNs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7EII1tqGJg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NETuCMeQds8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUyO6sUE4eA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R4qw2Ejne4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl_ObrsKSUA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACLqT7O0hqo


In the early days, like the summery, swish, exclusive Italo they were listening to, many of the parties in Detroit were aspirational. Despite the white flight of the late 60's, much of Detroit's black population was middle-class and relatively affluent. They could afford to buy the expensive import records, purchase decks, put on parties and soon enough, purchase the cheap Japanese equipment needed to start making music.

Then in 1981, Kraftwerk dropped Computer World, the record that would radically alter the musical landscape. Pioneering DJ and a huge influence on music as a whole in Detroit with his Midnight Funk Assocation, The Electrifyin' Mojo would play the album from start to finish every night for around a month or so after release.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dppczm_TKMA

Although there's something of a debate over who produced or released the first record (both even admit to putting 1981 on their records when they actually came out a year later), the first two Detroit techno records are A Number of Names' "Sharevari" and Cybotron's (Juan Atkins and Rick Davis) debut single, the much darker, dystopian "Alleys of Your Mind"...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLMGmJzp29Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMHNhJJnve4
Last edited by Toby on 01 Sep 2012, 12:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby der nister » 13 Aug 2012, 20:20

i'm enjoying this, thanks!
It's kinda depressing for a music forum to be proud of not knowing musicians.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Toby » 13 Aug 2012, 22:11

ELECTRO

If Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder were the paternal parents of the electronic dancefloor, then Electro is the odd, slightly burnt out, autistic but gifted elder brother of the trilogy, techno being the younger brother. Although it hasn't really moved on in any proper shape or form since its heyday with a few odd exceptions, there's a clarity and purity to it that still appeals to many today. Afrika Bambatta, aided by Arthur Baker, sampling "Trans Europe Express" on "Planet Rock" is probably the most well-known song of the genre, produced at a time when it and nascent hip-hop were much more closely aligned.

Image

Electro's signature is a breakbeat, albeit in drum machine form rather than being sampled, with snares or claps accentuating the downbeat. At the centre of the electro universe is the Roland TR-808, the machine that would kickstart the genre in 1980 alongside the DJ culture of scratching and cutting, aided by the vocoder. A cultural collision of Star Wars, japanese video games, Kraftwerk and robotics would produce a faintly theatrical aesthetic that was similar to hip-hop but much more escapist.

There are unusual oddities around that predate this sound, and if anything, the new wave sound from the UK of Gary Numan and the Human League was much more influential on electro than its younger brother techno. The likes of George Clinton, Herbie Hancock, Zapp and Roger, Miles Davis and the like were using electronic talk boxes in the seventies, a sound that would percolate down a decade later. Pop like Thomas Dolby, Cameo, Prince would also be influenced.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHBu_zGGpeg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03D852nr7PY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IlHgbOWj4o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PqEnlrlJv4


The track that truly defines electro is Hashim's Al-Naafyish (The Soul) released in 1983. Eerie, sinister and yet in possession of a stunning street vision, it has a clarity to it that I think is undimmed today. Many of these producers would rise and fall as quickly as they came around - electro without a doubt initiated the start of the faceless bedroom producer (although Hashim aka Jeffrey Calliste Jr is estimated to have sold 2.5 million copies of "Al-Naafyish). Other crews of note include Newcleus, Warp 9, Jonzun Crew, World Class Wrecking Crew (a young Dr Dre and the Fresh Prince emerged here too). There was even genre swapping from established disco producers such as Walter Gibbons, who released the awesome "Set it Off" as Strafe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXPqTFoNbuo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2OWcaVJ3Bs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2kMqMSIeg4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbIc36z9HKU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v44ZLW5cH8Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvXfpYINcwc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3chfEdzRhL4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kizSfrNW_z4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqteaZ64unA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGa9sGPCVD8
Last edited by Toby on 01 Sep 2012, 12:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Leg of lamb » 13 Aug 2012, 23:28

I need an hour or two to do this justice, but I'd just like to say cheers - and that your posts/threads at the moment are one of the things that make it worth tuning into BCB.
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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby The Modernist » 13 Aug 2012, 23:48

It's only in the last few years, and thanks largely to Toby, that I've realised what a rich and complex pre-history techno has..and it keeps getting stranger -Cat Stevens as one of the godfathers of techno? :)

Given that it is such a tangled web that that not only stretches continents but seems to leap back and forth across time like some sci-fi, you do a remarkable job in bringing this secret history to the rest of us with such clarity. The posts read a bit like a book synopsis and indeed I hope they do turn out to be part of a book.

Incidentally I was surprised Whodini and Mantronix were omitted from the electro section, but perhaps you wanted to highlight more underground acts?

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby the masked man » 14 Aug 2012, 00:09

Good work here! I'm familiar with about half the tunes here (the Hashim track is an absolute killer), and I look forward to discovering the rest shortly. That Cat Stevens track is unbelievable; I'd heard of it but never actually heard it - wonder what inspired such a stark turnaround in terms of genre?

There's a deep well here, and more UK tracks could have made the electro category. In particular, Depeche Mode's 'Get The Balance Right' (the 12" mix is proto-house) and Cabaret Voltaire's 'Sensoria' (intense industrial electro with sinister vocal loops) are very relevant.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Microserf 70 » 14 Aug 2012, 03:54

This is outstanding. Thanks, Bleep.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Matty Red Sox » 14 Aug 2012, 06:01

Bleep ROCKS!!!!!



Well, beeps maybe....
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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby PENK » 14 Aug 2012, 10:17

This is good stuff. There don't seem to be many quality compilations of the early techno and electro stuff around so it can be hard to find satisfying ways to hear most of it.
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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby brotherlouie » 14 Aug 2012, 10:25

In line with my comment elsewhere about liking the good stuff, I'd be interested in a bleep compiled 4CD boxed set of this stuff*. It might go against the aesthetic of here as now hedonism and seemingly archive a genre, but I always got the impression this was music put together by people with massive collections. Regardless of who fronted the single, as such.





*obviously there would have to be a 180gsm 12" single version, too.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby The Modernist » 14 Aug 2012, 11:16

What are you on about Bryan? :lol:

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby brotherlouie » 14 Aug 2012, 11:20

TheModernist wrote:What are you on about Bryan? :lol:


That, sir, is an elegant cough.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Toby » 14 Aug 2012, 11:24

I might put something together after I've finished the thread, which will take some time. However, I will only upload a zip file of all the tracks and if someone wants to design something for a physical cough, then they can do that.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Molony » 14 Aug 2012, 11:36

A very interesting thread. I definitely prefer the older, analogue-sounding, stuff to the tracks with scratching and so on. As you can probably tell, I know nothing of this genre, but I do really like 70s/early 80s electronic music. I bought the Moroder album after seeing it in the recent BCB poll of albums and it is great.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Toby » 14 Aug 2012, 15:49

Some more posts coming this week inc. Uk synth pop, Neue Deutsche Welle, Italo-disco, EBM, Chicago House and more..

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Goat Boy » 14 Aug 2012, 16:19

Another Bleep wonder thread. Nice to know someone still cares.

Top stuff.
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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Toby » 14 Aug 2012, 19:51

British synthpop

New York, Chicago and Detroit would be the three cities that provided much of the musical momentum for electronic dance music during the eighties. Yet it would be churlish to not mention the vital European influence too at this time. UK synthpop, at its creative height between the years of ‘78 to ‘82 would have a dramatic effect too, helped considerably by the new medium of MTV. This unusual element added a cosmopolitan, sophisticated touch to DJ sets, especially as many of the tracks weren’t touched initially by the hand of in-demand producers who had in the last few years begun to understand the important shift in dynamic between records played at volume in the home and those played on a hi-end sound system in a club. Eventually producers such as Shep Pettibone would bring their ear of dancefloor expertise to these tunes, but for some DJs, especially in Detroit and Chicago, the change in the sound with other records was a welcome thing, bringing an end to an impending aural homogeny. The angular sounds of Numan, Foxx, The Human League, Yazoo et al would be a big influence in Detroit.

The influence of this movement would also be felt throughout the 80's, although club culture in the UK arguably wasn't really affected by it - the soul movement would be the one that was swept up by acid house culture in '86 and '87, something we'll touch on later. I've also not touched on Cabaret Voltaire or Throbbing Gristle yet - they'll feature soon.

Synth Britannia is an excellent doc for those outside the UK who may not have seen it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69Wjc6QYuKI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5QErPDNcj4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v78Jmrb1hPY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgAiv4z1YKk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HwmO_GZfzI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdV-5ivltkc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im3saZsxvqY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWAC4UeWGd0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZiJQL9OLqI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUyIqG_ImfE
Last edited by Toby on 01 Sep 2012, 12:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Toby » 14 Aug 2012, 20:33

ITALODISCO

Disco was big in Italy long before it took hold anywhere else outside of the USA. Daniele Baldelli was DJing a peculiar form of afro-fused cosmic disco back in the 70’s; towards the end of the decade he was spinning at Rimini destination clubs like Typhoon to upwards of 5000 people a night. Although unconnected at the time, Italian prog rockers Goblin had started using drum machines in compositions for Dario Argento’s legendary horror films.

The availability of cheap, portable electronic equipment was bolstered by the relative quality of Italian synthesizers as well; The Eltax Synthex in particular was a prized piece of equipment that had a unique, distinctive and rich sound to it. Taking heed of the disco boom in Europe courtesy of producers such as Moroder, Celso Valli and the legendary Patrick Cowley, there was a boom in Italodisco (termed by the founder of ZYX records), a form of dance music that emerged between 1982 and 1984. It soon became inevitably commercial, but for a short period there was a golden period of some genuinely sophisticated dance music being released that also found its way across the Atlantic, permeating both Chicago and Detroit. For me anyway, the naive enmeshing of peculiar english lyrics and synthesizer sounds that were still being discovered into pop music leads me to believe that Italo was the last great hurrah of innocent pop - at least as good as UK synthpop, if not better; everything afterwards is just old material being recycled. Alexander Robotnick's "Problems D'Amour" is arguably the genre's flagship song, although there are an absolute ton of obscure, brilliant records to find here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWrIhj3KOVU

Daniele Baldelli interview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDfAKQ1Xsa8

Goblin - from the Tenebre OST

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG0uf41K7Jo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTbKuU59KF8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDV_dBYp4h0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2t8v2ST85iw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRpI0XBaz58

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poGvBR9KFX4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgBzF9_CQhY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BD4-ZdisdO4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkD2z4yxZ1o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mauWGQZt8TE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCsM1Am7xOM
Last edited by Toby on 01 Sep 2012, 12:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby Toby » 15 Aug 2012, 19:31

NEUE DEUTSCHE WELLE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkrv0Q11tWM

Electronic music had been established in Germany for over a decade by the time Disco hit its shores. Although some mainstream groups had a German presence in them usually provided by US armed forces stationed there (Boney M in particular), the movement didn’t really have much of an influence in the long-term, apart from being a part of commercial 80’s Eurodisco.

Neue Deutsche Welle was a synthesis of austere punk and electronics, often combining guitar and simple drum machines with an emphasis on speaking German – an important step following on from Kraftwerk about singing in the mother tongue rather than in English. Influenced (in an electronic sense) by British synthpop, it would be an important foundation for the development of German techno, which would begin to emerge properly by the early part of the 90’s. Concentrated in cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Dusseldorf (Einsturzende Neubauten were seen by many to be a part of it but wanted to avoid association), the movement, which had crystallized into something more commercial by the early part of the eighties, did launch the career of several highly important musicians within techno. Moritz Von Oswald, Thomas Fehlmann, Thomas Brinkmann and Wolfang Voigt all started off in punk bands in the late part of the 70’s before establishing themselves in the 90’s within the aristocracy of techno. Helmut Geier aka DJ Hell would start DJing in 1978 in Munich.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPPjlhaUvNQ

Palais Schaumburg in particular (featuring Von Oswald, Fehlmann and Holger Hiller) were an important band..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwAJXV070OY

DAF probably its most famous exponent..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3tR__Kbqmg

Liasions Dangereuses had a big hit with "Los Ninos del Parque" , the rhythm would be sampled a huge amount by Detroit techno producers throughout the 90's. Beate Bartel would go onto feature in Crime and the City Solution.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHh7wattxdc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgWkK9JEDdw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfFyqJLpe_c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neRkAQ55I6U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD7QmKJ1LyQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No6bZ7pWzwU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnP5GnvnWPE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyG_63qHmm8
Last edited by Toby on 01 Sep 2012, 12:44, edited 1 time in total.