Bleep's History of Techno

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno (youtube links now disabled)

Postby Toby » 04 Sep 2012, 21:23

The Belleville Three - Part 1 Cybotron

Image

(From L to R - Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson)

Belleville is a small suburb outside of Detroit that had a “racially progressive” attitude amongst the automobile factory workforce situated there in the seventies even if it was still prejudiced in some parts from a residential perspective. An area that had an affluent yet still relatively small black middle-class, the techno music created by Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins and Derrick May would, to a certain extent, cross the harsh divide line of the 8 Mile, pollinated there by programmers on The Scene and Mojo. Clubs such as the Music Institute were a mixture of high school students and teenagers from less privileged backgrounds - very much a word of mouth scene. This continued until the latter half of the eighties, when continuing social decline led to burgeoning gang-related violence across the city that has been a permanent resident since.

Atkins, May and Saunderson all went to school in Belleville, Atkins being the slightly older of the trio (and revealed in a interview to be the son of Detroit’s version of “American Gangster”). Their formative period came through listening to music by YMO, Kraftwerk and Parliament in their bedrooms via the Electrifyin' Mojo, rather than being experienced on the dancefloor. Atkins, having been influenced enough by Parliament to buy a synthesizer in the late 70's, was the first to start making music.


Image

Cybotron

Juan Atkins met Vietnam vet Rick Davis aka "3070" at community college whilst studying computer science. The two of them formed Cybotron, the name derived from Atkins' love of futuristic sounding portmanteaus - being a mix of cyclotron and cyborg. Atkins was also an avid reader of futurist Alvin Toffler, reading The Third Wave and Future shock in his late teens, eventually coining the phrase "techno" after the phrase "techno rebels". In the midst of Detroit's collapse and abandonment, Atkins eventually inflected his music with a sense of melancholy, but for now, the Cybotron sound was a mix of Parliament and Kraftwerk - replicating the sound of New York electro. The battle for Detroit's first electronic dance record is disputed between them and the one-off of "Sharevari", but Cybotron had the staying power and relative economic success - helped by Davis' decision to press 7" 45s rather than the more DJ friendly 12"s for their first single "Alleys of Your Mind" on their own Deep Space label. A second single, "Cosmic Cars" followed shortly after.

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

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


Within a short space of time Cybotron were signed to Fantasy and had a relatively big hit with "Clear" - one of the major electro records of the era. An album, "Enter" followed - being a disparate mix of weird funk and rock ideas that showed the clear distinction between Davis and Atkins.

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

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


Their focus and vision merged more successfully for 1984's "Techno City", which claims the first use of the phrase "techno" and also showcases that trademark sound that Atkins would make his own soon enough. This is the start of the genre in its truest form and within a year, after one more single "r-9", Atkins would leave to strike out on his own. Rick Davis would continue Cybotron on his own, eventually more new-age style material in the nineties.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZFL2Ewo-oI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDWeIGEj96s

You can read more about Atkins and Cybotron via an interview with him on my site - http://www.bleep43.com/bleep43/2009/10/ ... t-one.html

Next - Metroplex records and the start of Juan Atkins' solo career.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 05 Sep 2012, 21:22

The Belleville Three Part 2 - Juan Atkins and Metroplex Records

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EarSRa19sZc

In 1985 Juan Atkins split from Rick Davis and struck out on his own, starting a new label called "Metroplex Records" (another portmanteau creation). His first release under a new alias Model 500 was "No UFOs", the first real techno record. "Techno City" may have had elements of what we'd hear later, but this was the real deal, an earthshaking record that was a big hit both in Detroit and later in Chicago. It helped to fund a number of releases, some of which had been plainly recorded previously and still had the electro groove of Cybotron, including the next single "Night Drive". "Bang the Beat" released a year later in 1986, was also clearly in this vein.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2QiV1O-HCo

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


Yet by the latter half of 1986, the sound of the windy city was slowly percolating its influence into Atkins' sound, helped no doubt by the appearance of house records purchased by both May and Saunderson, who all DJed with Atkins regularly across Detroit at this time. The 4/4 would in time replace the electro breakbeat and by 1987's "Off to Battle" his sound had merged into something altogether more sophisticated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eien43GwpRU


Atkins still liked to keep his electro sound going too, inventing a new alias "Channel One" for 1986's "Technicolor".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROoUz5jBXOg


Metroplex Records was in full flow by 1986 and would continue to release music, most of by Atkins, until 1999 or so. An unofficial fourth member of the Belleville Trio, Eddie "Flashin'" Fowlkes released "Goodbye Kiss" in 1986 on the label, but unlike the others his career path never quite followed the same trajectory. The big difference between the artists from Detroit and Chicago at this time was that they controlled their music by starting up their own labels, DJed regularly as crews rather than individuals and unlike Chicago, which was centred on the Hot Mix 5 and Ron Hardy, did not have to rely on a big DJ and the distribution of another label to help them out.

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRVb47WtINI

Although Atkins would suffer some serious personal problems with family from the mid-90's until fairly recently, this was the start of a 15 year period in which his output defined Detroit techno to a great degree. As the originator of the genre, he occupies a special reserved place in the pantheon. By the early part of the 90's, his music would become much more heartfelt and introspective. We'll touch on that later.

Next: Derrick May
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 07 Sep 2012, 21:58

The Belleville Three Part Three - Derrick May and Transmat Records

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If Atkins is the shy, reticent and withdrawn one within the Belleville trio, then Derrick May is the outspoken, egotistical and extremely charming spokesperson. Although his recording career seemed to come to an mysteriously abrupt end in 1991, he is without doubt one of the genre’s true legends, producing a brief run of landmark records that have embedded themselves deeply into techno's DNA. Influenced just as much by the cosmic elegance of Vangelis as Miles Davis or Prince, he brought an air of European sophistication to the Detroit sound, imbuing dance tracks with a sense of futuristic escapism that catapulted the genre into the big time. May coined the term “hi-tech soul” for it, but despite the ungainliness of the phrase, there’s no doubt that he channelled something unique and powerful into dance music. May had visited Chicago regularly as a teenager, becoming acquainted with Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles, an influence that would seep into his own DJing style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l65EQIB7e30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7HiL2m63pQ

May’s first outing was in 1986 as part of X-Ray, which comprised the Belleville Threw, the one and only time that they all recorded together. A year later he ushered in an new phase of techno, starting up his own label Transmat and releasing his first single with the stuttering abstract funk of “Nude Photo”, co-written with Thomas Barnett. If Juan Atkins’ tracks were ambiguous, shadowy glissandos of dystopia, Derrick May’s music was immediately from another galaxy altogether, altogether more organic in sound and confident in its approach. His second record though would change the landscape altogether.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiCEGXGm-z0

Like Larry Heard’s “Can You Feel It”, May’s anthem “Strings of Life” in 1987 was the record that changed everything. In the MDMA-infused dancefloor crucibles of Northern England and Ibiza, clubs reverberated to this instant anthem - the tune that would bring together a whole mass of people in unison, a track that stopped people dead in their tracks and converted them in a heartbeat. If Heard’s record was ultimately disco-orientated in its slower tempo, “Strings”, with its Italian house style piano, was a much more energetic, throbbing slice of techno elegance that ushered in Detroit techno. May would only record around 25 or so tracks in his whole career, but they're all enmeshed with his strong identity. 1988's "It is what it is" took Nude Photo's sinewy edge and layered over a majestic, soaring melody. Between '88 and 1991, May's records set the barometers for the rest of the city's new generation of techno musicians to aspire to. May's young friend and engineer assistant on many of these records, Carl Craig, would be waiting in the wings.

On a personal note - Derrick came to play at one of my parties and DJ'ed for 8 hours nonstop. It was herculean.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBW-7uI5ABw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Y3iqKs5tI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdN_1r6LSaA


Transmat, like Metroplex, continues to release Detroit techno although it's clear that it has seen better days. Nevertheless, it helped to launch the careers of the likes of Stacey Pullen, Kenny Larkin, Suburban Knight and Octave One, all of which will be covered in the "Second Wave of Detroit" that comes later in the first half of the 90's.

Next : The final part of the Belleville Three with Kevin Saunderson.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 09 Sep 2012, 00:41

If you're reading and listening, then saying a simple cheers or thanks means a lot.

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Count Machuki » 09 Sep 2012, 00:47

Reading and have got it bookmarked for future reference. Thanks, man.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 09 Sep 2012, 09:41

great stuff/work!
many thanks!
bookmarked for sure! :-)
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 09 Sep 2012, 19:46

The Belleville Three - Part Four : Kevin Saunderson


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The final member of the trilogy is Kevin "Master Reese" Saunderson. If Atkins was the shy one, May the charismatic one, then Saunderson was the pragmatist. In terms of commercial sales, Saunderson has outstripped the other two fivefold and then some, having reputedly sold around 7 million records worldwide. Like the other two from early on, he set up his own label, KMS, which would concentrate in time on more house-orientated sounds. His big success was with Inner City, with which he achieved global fame from 1988 onwards. Much of his success has come through collaboration and the focus of his tracks is much more party-orientated, eschewing the thoughtful, contemplative sound of either Atkins or May. Put simply, Saunderson realised the huge potential of party records - maximising them with heavy bass and artful use of compression to achieve a "chunky" sound.

Born in Brooklyn, Saunderson moved to Belleville at the age of nine. Teaming up with Atkins and May, he concentrated to begin with on DJing, but after collaborating with May and Atkins on "X-Ray" in 1986, he released "Triangle of Love" with Atkins in 1986 on Metroplex.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3qGhpYTEe0


Teaming up with Santonio Echols, he then released a number of records under the guise of "Reese and Santionio" in 1987 on his own label. One of his trademark production techniques was the use of crisp, searing hi-hats, which when played in a club at high volume have a powerful effect. The first two singles were relatively primitive, but "Bounce your body to the Box" was proof of a serious improvement and a record that still sounds wonderfully fresh today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5iV798ciNY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dTwXJ6pR4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5hD2Cn7d3w


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In 1988, with interest in Detroit techno reaching the UK, entrepreneur and Northern Soul promoter Neil Rushton went over to the city, looking for music for a compilation called "Techno : The New Sound of Detroit", having set a label called Kool Kat two years earlier for importing dance music. Having met Saunderson, he was enthusiastic about a track he'd recorded with Paris Grey called "Big Fun". The track's popularity soared in clubs and by the end of the year, Saunderson and Inner City as his project was called, had a global hit on his hands. The follow up single "Good Life" did even better. Inner City would go onto release four albums. The stabbing keyboard chords would become a signature sound for techno.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z03WzB0JBQU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=998P6HEzCdI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfjae2LOX04


Despite the commercial success of Inner City, Saunderson would continue to keep making more "underground" house and techno, both with his E-Dancer and World of Deep aliases. KMS itself would become a byword for quality US house music, with outstanding releases from Saunderson, Stacey Pullen, Chez Damier and a number of other artists that form the "Second Wave" of Detroit techno musicians.

Next : We'll cover a few other early Detroit records from this period and then it's back in time a bit to 1982 and the prelude to the Second Summer of Love in the UK.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby fange » 11 Sep 2012, 01:58

Cheers man, this has been a really enjoyable and interesting read.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby The Modernist » 11 Sep 2012, 07:21

Really interesting stuff. Thanks so much for these.

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby the masked man » 11 Sep 2012, 08:41

This is excellent so far. Many thanks.

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 11 Sep 2012, 20:53

Detroit's first wave - the rest of the best

The Belleville Three were the first wave of Detroit techno artists, but alongside them were a small coterie of artists who started making music at the same time, releasing on their respective labels Metroplex, Transmat and KMS. At this time the tracks were raw, simple jams - but in a short space of time they'd become more sophisticated.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqsC4x5MsPY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w906QNqAUoE

Blake Baxter, self-styled "Prince of Techno", took a lot of his influence from Chicago house originally, but his big hit "Sexuality" has a primitive, base stomp feel to it that works on the dancefloor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9zTZnSzO1k

James Pennington, aka Suburban Knight, started off in 1987 with "The Groove" on May's Transmat label.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFZ2mCWh7fY

Anthony "Shake" Shakir is arguably the most intriguing of this coterie of producers. Although he didn't start really punching his weight until the next decade, you can tell from the track above that he was headed in a different direction to his contemporaries. Later Shake would start inflecting his music with hiphop, but in a unique way. Of all the Detroit artists his music is the most stylised.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoDx6M_FjcE

K-Alexi Shelby's "All for Lee-sah" remains a Detroit classic - a stuttering, powerful record that was the start of a trend for a "deeper" sound that would eventually lead to a trend called "minimal" - something I'll discuss again in detail later.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGSO6cZ36XU

The Burden Brothers, otherwise known as Octave One, kicked off a two decade career with the lush "I Believe", helped out on percussion by Shake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuEg1aimXDI


So we're up to around 1989 and Detroit techno is starting to percolate across the world, helped by the success of "Strings of Life" and Inner City's "Big Fun". To populate the history more accurately, it's however necessary to go back in time again, this time over to Europe, where the origins of clubbing in Ibiza will be discussed, why Britain exploded with the second summer of love, ushering in both "Acid House" and the growth of dance music here, plus New Beat in Belgium and the rise of clubbing in Germany.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 16 Sep 2012, 15:55

The birth of rave in the UK - Part 1 Northern Soul and Electro



Compared to America, and even to places like Belgium and Italy, the culture of electronic music had not translated to a particularly strong and cohesive “club” scene in Britain, if only in terms of a particular unique sound that emerged from it. There wasn’t the “New Beat” or “Italo” scene - and whilst synthpop was very popular, night clubs in general would be much more catholic in their approach. Whilst MDMA and Factory Records may be the most famous parts of the explosion of dance music culture, there are a lot more strands to weave in.

The history of clubbing in the UK stretches back to the sixties. The word “rave”started appearing in the 40’s and became a popular term for parties two decades later. Mod culture, where whole groups of people would travel between London and Manchester to attend all-night R&B events pre-empted the “rave chase” that would become popular with the advent of those around the M25 over twenty years later. By the seventies, soul/jazz funk all-dayers had replaced the Mod scene, laying the foundation for the Southport weekenders that continue to this day, now merging house, disco and funk all together.

Northern Soul was the definitive moment of 70’s UK club culture, emerging from the aforementioned Mod scene. Centred around locations such as The Twisted Wheel in Manchester to start with, the size of venues increased to places such Blackpool Mecca and Wigan Casino, and with it dancing became much more energetic, free-form and competitive. Many of the aesthetics of electronic dance music took root here on the dancefloor, especially with the desire of crowds to hear songs that were exclusive, rather than just the hits of the day. DJs would begin to cover up the labels of their records in order for them to remain unknown to competitors; they’d sequence records in order to produce highs and low, and many of the DJs from this period would be instrumental in introducing house and techno into clubs in the eighties. People went to dance, there was less emphasis on beer and picking up girls - the focus was the music and virtually nothing else. Drug use, mostly amphetamines, was relatively common. The parallels between this and techno culture are startling.

Alongside that was a thriving mag culture promotion black music - Blues & Soul, Black Echoes and Record Mirror all played a major part in promoting soul, jazz, disco et al to a mixed audience. Soul Mafia DJs like Robbie Vincent, Pete Tong began to establish a set sound comprised of boogie, disco and funk that became the club norm in the south and London, snobbily dismissing anything with electronics in it as “not real music”. Yet in the North West in 1982, a DJ called Greg Wilson started playing electro from New York, in particular “Planet Rock”, to an enthusiastic audience at Northern Soul venues Legends in Manchester and Wigan Pier, mixing in these new records slowly but surely over the course of a year or so. By 1983 Wilson was the Hacienda’s first dance resident DJ and he would soon be playing to big, racially diverse crowds.

Image


Spreading to areas like Huddersfield first, before slowly sweeping south to London by 1984, electro carried with it the culture of breakdancing, which by then had spread across the land, and also finally brought hiphop culture to the UK. Although “Buffalo Gals” had been released in 1982, it would be the emergence of a series of mixed compilation albums called “Street Sounds" which would fuel the craze. Created by entrepreneur Morgan Khan, these seminal records carried the sound of post-disco NYC, with tracks by Peech Boys, Sharon Rdd, Walter Gibbons, plus the tougher beats of Hashim, Cybotron’s Clear and many more. It’s important to note that Khan, who was 15 when he started releasing these albums, was one of the first Asian music success stories in the UK, becoming an integral part of the urban music scene since. Kraftwerk's "Tour de France" appearing in the film "Break Dance" was a milestone.

Last edited by Toby on 17 Sep 2012, 08:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby The Modernist » 16 Sep 2012, 16:47

Great stuff as always Toby.

Those Street Sounds albums were hugely important. It's a shame they've never been given the boxset treatment. I wonder what happened to Morgan Khan?

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 24 Sep 2012, 20:35

The birth of Rave in the UK Part Two - London, Pirate radio and the rise of Sampling culture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Jm_O2HtdI

Between 1984 and 1988 the primordial soup of what would become rave culture in a musical sense was an intriguing mishmash of hip-hop, funk, soul, electro and Chicago house. The end product of this intriguing period of flux would have an important impact on the foreign imports that started to populate the singles chart by 1986 or so, but crucially it would be UK artists that would have their say on matters. Although the history is a lot more complex to break down more accurately, essentially the point is that hiphop and electro’s breaks would be a vital and integral part of British dance music, eventually materialising in rave, hardcore, drum ‘n’ bass, garage, grime and dubstep. The legacy of London's rare groove scene, populated by the Soul Mafia DJs, was a consistent lauding of music of black origin, something that has slowly dissipated over the last 25 years. The ethnic makeup of parties from this period were much more diverse - nowadays it’s rare that you’d find a big mixed race crowd at a house or techno night in the UK - young black people are much more likely to be attending grime or dubstep nights, a mutation of the drum 'n' bass crowd, that in itself derived from the reggae soundsystem parties that stretch back to Bristol and Birmingham in the 60's and 70's.

Pirate radio would also play an essential part. Kiss 94 was set up in 1985, originally across south London before going capital-wide with a proper licence in 1990. The culture of pirate radio is again too complex to go into further detail here, but in London during the late eighties, Kiss was an integral part of a changing musical landscape, having an estimated 250,000 listeners before it went legal. Many of the elder statesmen of British dance music, like Trevor Nelson, Paul Anderson, Norman Jay, Tim Westwood, Colin Faver, Danny Rampling and Patrick Forge were all present at its inception.

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

Jonathon More, who worked at Reckless Records and DJ’ed part time at Kiss, met Matt Black, a regular customer, in 1986. They would go onto form Coldcut, whose use of primeval sampling technology with cut-up edits of hiphop tracks like Erik B and Rakim’s “Paid in Full” became huge hits a year later. They would taste chart success with Yazz, covering “The Only Way Is Up” in 1988, eventually launching Ninja Tune in the mid-90’s in the midst of the trip-hop scene that had emerged from Bristol. A remix of the remix, M/A/R/R/S’s (a 4AD collaboration between Colourbox and A R Kane) “Pump up the Volume” would also hit #1 in the same year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvE3vf8y3xU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHh5rDcQKhQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKCW3RJNRIw

Sampling within dance music was initially much more prevalent in the UK. Although samplers had been in existence since the 70's, the introduction of the Akai S9000 in 1986 was a big step in the right direction for bedroom producers, who before had not been able to afford such expensive equipment. Like the Roland drum machine/stepsequencers and introduction of MIDI in the early 80's, this was another important step in allowing bedroom producers more creative freedom without having to book time at a studio. Producers such as the aforementioned Coldcut and the like were at the vanguard of a new remix culture, that , alongside the reinterpretation of old disco records by Chicago house producers, were lifting small snatches of riffs and everything else to be recreated in a new melting pot of a scene, one that would need a couple of drops to set it off - MDMA for one and the journey of four up and coming DJs to Ibiza, where they would come back evangelised by a new sound and aesthetic.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 25 Sep 2012, 20:49

The birth of Rave Culture Part Three - The Balearic Beat

Image

The sense of escapism that Ibiza provides isn’t exactly new. A haven for people escaping persecution for centuries, its edenic qualities came to the fore as it turned into a playground for the rich, famous and gay in the fifties. Gay clubs were already in place by the sixties, when hippies became more prominent. The sense of seclusion that Ibiza gave meant that the jetset, hippies and the like could really get up to what they liked, away from the prying eyes of the world’s press. As such, a bacchanalian spirit pervaded the island and made its way into the clubs. Famous clubs like Pacha would start during this time.

Two people brokered Ibiza’s change from an unwieldy mix of jetset/freaknik bewilderment to being the cornerstone of dance culture. The first one is little-known, but Frenchman Jean-Claude Maury, who lived in Brussels and DJ’ed at Mirano, the “Studio 54 of the Lowlands” before moving to the island in the early 80’s, played a curious mix of weird benelux pop and disco, crucially laying the esoteric foundation of the Balearic sound. He would also become one of the prime figures in the Belgian New Beat explosion of the mid-80’s.

The other is Alfredo, an Argentine journalist who arrived initially in the early eighties to visit a friend, but never left. Like all great shifts in cultures, the route was unexpected. Amnesia, originally a finca and then turned into a disco in 1976, was down on its luck. Alfredo, who was by this time running a bar and DJing out of it with a small collection of eclectic pop and rock, became the resident, but the key was that he turned it into an after-hours place, running from 3 am to midday. It happened by accident on one night when he was waiting to be paid by the venue’s owners. Around 60 people came down from Ku, a competitor, and stayed, listening to Alfredo’s set. Within one season the place had been transformed from a barren club to one attracting 2000 people every night in the summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2tCxlCkrAw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CHxW9BCPis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE6FdB_8lBY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhIXU4IXLWg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQsF95m-vZQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oknbIa80wAo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJDx-1L3V9U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQdwk8Yntds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s67Dc5RF8Ks


Balearic, as the sound became known, is an infamously nebulous concept. In one respect it can be identified as records played by Alfredo on the dancefloor at Amnesia - which, given his strident eclectisism, doesn’t really mean much at all. That could be the Woodentop’s “Why Why Why”, Chris Rea’s “Josephine”, Pat Metheny, Talk Talk or Italian party-prog like Tulio de Piscopo - although generally something with a Mediterranean vibe is going to help enormously. But deep down it boils down to an older concept. One could argue generally that before house and techno came along, most DJs in the early 80’s after the collapse of disco, even genre originators like Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles et al, played in this manner - they played records that worked on the dancefloor regardless of their origin. One of the great and very valid criticisms of the rise of electronic dance music is that it created strict lines in terms of genre hegemony. Something was “house” or “techno”. Combined with the relative novelty of these new records with new sounds led to these new genres becoming very popular very quickly. It is almost as if house and techno were huge monoflavoured catalysts that upset a quietly simmering, eclectic soup. Balearic is a vital part of the birth of dance music, but it's a shame that its eclectic message has been lost somewhat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxLmxjPt3wA

In 1987, 4 wild-eyed Brits came to Amnesia for the first time. Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway and Johnny Walker all returned to London frothing at the mouth with tales of excitement of this new sound. Within weeks, a new sound, Balearic as it was quickly christened, was merging with the sound of Acid from Chicago. Balearic Beat would be championed at the now legendary Shoom club, whereas Acid House (seen by many as its ugly brother) would be taking off in clubs that were playing house from Chicago, quickly growing in popularity. The second Summer of Love as it became known, would take off fully in 1988.

Next - we hop over the channel to Belgium, to talk about Bocaccio and Belgian New Beat, another vital part of techno's DNA.
Last edited by Toby on 05 Feb 2013, 20:44, edited 1 time in total.

The Modernist

Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby The Modernist » 25 Sep 2012, 21:05

Another great installment. I too regret that eclecticism disappeared from the club scene by the early nineties (around 93 probably), but then I've never been a purist.

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PENK
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby PENK » 25 Sep 2012, 21:07

Thanks again for this Bleep. The one thread I keep coming back for at the moment.
GoogaMooga wrote:
Minnie Cheddars wrote:Baron got into a fight with some Satan’s Slaves over some culinary issue

Awful thing when that happens. I had a similar experience at a Tom Jones concert.

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the masked man
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby the masked man » 25 Sep 2012, 22:04

TheModernist wrote:Another great installment. I too regret that eclecticism disappeared from the club scene by the early nineties (around 93 probably), but then I've never been a purist.


This is very much how I feel. In the late 80s, I was reading about these clubs where synthpop, danceable indie, house and italo-disco, plus whatever else the DJ felt like playing, was on the playlist. This felt so liberating. But when I hit the clubs in Cardiff, where I lived at this point, everywhere had such a blinkered approach. I could go to clubs playing techno, or house, or Madchester-based indie-dance, but places prepared to mix things up and surprise the punters just didn't exist. After one miserable techno night in the mid 90s where everything was the same tempo and, fuck it, the same precise rhythm (mixed flawlessly and soullessly), I realised I needed a change. I started hanging out at rock clubs with the crowd I hung out with; this is probably the roots of my current metal obsession. Dance music's loss, ultimately.

That said, if a new club sprung up in Peterborough in the spirit of Alfreda's Amnesia, I would be there in a shot (Well, I can dream!).

As ever, great stuff, Toby. I will ensure this makes Classic Threads once it's run its course.

The Modernist

Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby The Modernist » 25 Sep 2012, 22:25

the masked man wrote:
That said, if a new club sprung up in Peterborough in the spirit of Alfreda's Amnesia, I would be there in a shot (Well, I can dream!).


Build the beach and they will come. ;)

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 26 Sep 2012, 20:53

Belgium and New Beat

Image

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvJJWH5hjjs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wi0UBb5auE

What I love about dance music is the unusual, idiosyncratic history that it has. Belgium, an otherwise unassuming country in a musical sense, has a vital role to play in the synthesis of European rave culture, providing a harder, tougher element to the melange of electronic music that swirled through its discos in the early 80's. In the early 80's clubs in places like Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels played an eclectic mix of Neue Deutsche Welle, Synthop, New Wave, Belgium's very own Front 242, weird disco and Italo, which was also very popular in neighbouring Holland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRmP-WSae7A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6XfRWVZvms

Jean-Claude Maury, who had been instrumental in DJing in Ibiza as we have already seen, was already playing a wide range of disco and balearic records by the early 80's. What defined the New Beat style though was the relatively slow BPM, which never flickered above 110 BPM. The legend is that the above record by A Split Second was mistakenly played at 33 instead of 45 RPM one night and from then on, this slower tempo pretty much defined the genre. The main clubs that pushed the New Beat sound were Ancienne Belgique in Antwerp and Boccaccio, in Destelbergen just outside Ghent. In terms of its length, New Beat was probably as good as over by 1990, but the ramifications of its sound would be heard in pop acts like Technotronic, the SAW boutique, Snap and many other Euro-techno acts that would emerge from 1989 onwards. Lords of Acid, one of the biggest acts from the scene, would achieve major rotation on MTV Europe courtesy of VJ Steve Blame, who was a big fan.

More presciently, it would see the launch of Renaat Vandepapeliere's career, who would launch Europe's most influential techno label, R & S Records. Frank de Wulf and Emanuel Top would also launch their musical projects via the New Beat scene. The tunes themselves were sparse, sometimes employing tracks with a middle eastern influence, a preference for vocal samples and acid lines similar to that of Phuture's "Acid Trax", which had been released earlier in the year. The Italo influence is apparent, but this was much more hedonistic, taking onboard the tough Industrial sound of bands like Front 242, Nitzer Ebb and populating the very embryonic house scene in London and Ibiza with a harder edge, essentially giving birth to "Acid House".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4j1DQnjB0g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dON4i2M_PMw

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GqvvR67Owg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC1Mg8coMz8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpV-ItIqRTs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w77LkXUKmVM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shC2nwQrDVg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOBGh4rJ8Yo

Last edited by Toby on 05 Feb 2013, 20:46, edited 1 time in total.