Bleep's History of Techno

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Deebank » 25 Feb 2013, 09:58

Keith Jennings wrote:Relieved to see no Guru Josh!


That came later...

"1990, time for the Guru!"*

:lol:

I would add a couple of things to Bleep's exhaustive exposition.
Firstly, the influence of the Roland TB303 - this little 'bass line' machine more than anything else defined the acid sound.

And secondly to add that at early raves you would be just as likely to end the night on The Whole Of The Moon or something by Fleetwood Mac as any cutting edge Chicago house... Well in my experience anyway :)



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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 25 Feb 2013, 13:23

Just a quick word to say that things on this front start getting quite complicated soon. From this point onwards there will be a lot of genres that I won't cover in detail purely because the diaspora of electronic dance music starts diversifying quite rapidly from around 1992. I will also be devoting entire posts to one artist or label - from a purely "techno" point of view the golden age kicks off in and around 1993 and as such some producers deserve more individual focus rather than being lumped into a scene.

I will be starting to populate a Spotify playlist as well to accompany this thread - I'll post up the playlist link soon.

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 25 Feb 2013, 20:24

Detroit - The Second Wave : Part One - Underground Resistance, The Early Years

Although Detroit techno had started with Juan Atkins back in 1981, the golden period of the genre really took off with what has become known as the “Second Wave” - a new generation comprised of producers such as Underground Resistance, Carl Craig, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Kenny Larkin, Drexciya, Octave One, Anthony “Shake” Shakir and a few others. From around 1992 to 1998 Detroit techno really grasped the “music of the future” mantle, but embellished it with a sophisticated dancefloor élan that gave it a timeless feel. Detroit’s musical pollen had also drifted over the border to nearby Windsor, Ontario during the period of '89 to '91 – influencing the likes of Richie Hawtin, John Acquaviva and Daniel Bell - who would soon provide their own telling input.

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A sort of “techno public enemy”, Underground Resistance was founded by a former Parliament session musician, Mike Banks in 1989/90 with Jeff Mills aka The Wizard and Robert Hood. Banks’ vision was a self-funded, fully independent band or group with an abstracted political agenda that sought to try and at least provide some sort of community to Detroit, which by this time was facing serious decline. In the two decades or so that UR have been going, they have become a byword for militant self-determination – Banks set up Submerge as a record shop and distribution network for Detroit artists (there have been issues for many years about European labels pocketing vast swathes of cash from Detroit artists who released music on their label) and he has provided personal support to a number of producers who have battled addictions and the like. In recent years Banks’ support allowed Juan Atkins to tour his Model 500 project live for the first time. Mills and Hood both left in 1992 to pursue individual musical projects, which I’ll document later.

Altruisms aside, Underground Resistance also released some of the most vital techno records ever made, veering from sinewy, galactic electro to lush, cosmic techno and house music that carries a strong and defiantly Detroit black identity. At first their efforts seemed to be in the same tradition as Kevin Saunderson's heavy rave-orientated efforts, but in time, with Banks at the helm of the songwriting duties once Mills and Hood had gone their separate ways, the range of records really took off. It's important to note that Underground Resistance is both a production outfit and a label - the latter would carry releases by other Detroit acts such as the mythical Drexciya. This section concentrates on their earlier releases, finishing with the 12" double pack Galaxy 2 Galaxy, one of the finest techno releases ever.



UR 001 feat Yolanda - Your Time is Up



UR 002 - Eye of the Storm



UR 003 - The Final Frontier



UR 004 - Waveform



UR 005 - Body & Soul



UR 010 - Riot



UR 012 - Seawolf



UR 025 - Star Sailing



UR 025 - Journey of the Dragons (with Juan Atkins)



UR 025 - Hi Tech Jazz


Banks, Hood and Mills would also release music under a number of "X" guises, X-101, X-102 and X-103 in particular - each having something of a science fiction theme. The tracks were more abstract in nature, with Mills being the driving compositional force behind theme. This was the foundation for his own musical career, which we'll explore in more detail later. The X-103 project was just Hood and Mills together, hinting at the very stripped down sound that both of them would be pushing individually.



X-101 - Sonic Destroyer



X-102 - Rings of Saturn



X-103 - Thera

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby dgs » 26 Feb 2013, 14:36

Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty's protean KLF project had originated in 1987 but during this period they put out two big records - "What Time is Love" (sampling Anne Clark heavily in the process" and "3AM Eternal". Somehow, along with the ambient album "Chill Out" , they burnt their image indelibly onto the period even if their ultimate game was pop-culture terrorism.


There is a brilliant book out at the moment which I'd thoroughly recommend, KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money, covering the whole of the KLF lifecycle and trying to reconcile the burning of the million quid. It's central premise being that none of it was intentional but rather each event was a consequence of the preceding one, whereby the whole pop-cultre terrorism was a bye product.

Either way, these were both magnificent tunes.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 27 Feb 2013, 13:53

Detroit - The Second Wave : Part Two - Carl Craig

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Carl Craig's music sums up Detroit techno, in that it has educated nods to jazz, house, disco and many other elements involved. Of all the musicians/producers that come from the Motor City, none have quite managed to encapsulate the sound so succinctly as him, perhaps even more so than Atkins and May in terms of their craft. His albums "Landcruising" and "More Songs about Food and Revolutionary Art" have a distinct quality about them that elevate them beyond just being a collection of tunes, which is an often accurate criticism of the format in the dance music world. Although his output has declined a little in quality in recent years, he still can boast an extensive discography over two decades which places him at the heart of the genre. For me, Craig's music is a hallmark of electronic music, being gloriously evocative, innovative and more than anything else, soulful. He has also released a number of remarkable remixes as well. His label, Planet E, has released a slew of excellent, esoteric house and techno records since 1993. "Desire", "Science Fiction", "A Wonderful Life" and "At Les" are all essential because they shatter preconceptions of what techno can be like.



B.F.C - Galaxy (1990)



Carl Craig - No More Words (1991)



69 - Ladies and Gentlemen (1991)



69 - Desire (1994)



Paperclip People - Oscillator (1991)



Paperclip People - The Climax (1995)



Carl Craig - Science Fiction (1995)



Carl Craig - A Wonderful Life (1995)



Carl Craig - At Les (1997)



Carl Craig - Dreamland (1997)

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 28 Feb 2013, 14:07

Detroit - The Second Wave : Part Three - Jeff Mills

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Jeff Mills is techno. More than anyone, this Detroit legend has turned being a DJ and producer into something approaching an artistic statement. His music in the 90's became a driving force of the genre and his DJ style so radically altered the sound and how the music was perceived that it's difficult to think of someone quite so rewardingly iconic as him. A

Mills's career started in 1980 as a local DJ in Detroit. He became known as "The Wizard" and would guest on the Electrifyin' Mojo's radio show before moving to a rival station in the mid-eighties. By the end of the decade he was turning more and more to production, forming "Final Cut" with Adam Srock.



Final Cut w/ True Faith - Take Me Away (1989)

He then joined Mike Banks and Robert Hood to form Underground Resistance before leaving in 1992. By this point both Mills and Hood were laying the foundations for what would be called "Minimal Techno" - a stripped down, faster form of the genre that would rapidly gain popularity. Hood and Mills worked together for a year or so before having what appears to be a huge bust-up over something personal (For many years they would not even play on the same DJ lineups). In the tradition of all Detroit acts, Mills set up his legendary label Axis, which would become the focal point for his music. It's important to note that Mills had started DJing with 3 turntables during this time, allowing him to layer more and more tracks - a style that made sense with minimal techno.



H & M - 88 (1991)



H & M - Drama (1991)

In 1992 Mills moved away from Detroit, first to New York, then to Berlin for a short period before settling in Chicago in the latter half of the decade. His first two albums, "Waveform Transmissions Vol 1 & 3" introduced a darker, more abstracted style to techno that, to put it mildly, destroyed dancefloors. I witnessed him play for the first time in 1994 and my initial memory is of never having witnessing music quite like it before - the first impression was that it had taken the machine noise of Kraftwerk and earlier techno to an unknown place. Not necessarily darker or nastier, just different. Since then all in honesty there have been techno DJs and then there is Jeff Mills - he occupies a lone place on the pantheon.



Jeff Mills - Late Night (1992)



Jeff Mills - DNA (1992)



Jeff Mills - Changes of Life (1992)



Jeff Mills - Wrath of the Punisher (1994)



Jeff Mills - Condor to Mallorca (1994)



Jeff Mills - Step to Enchantment (1992)


Perhaps the best document of Jeff Mills is the mix CD "Live at the Liquid Rooms" recorded in Tokyo in 1995. Presciently, Mills knew that the phenomenon of the mix CD would never last because they were not proper documents of the live DJ experience. It remains one of the only "live" mix CDs released commercially and is a great introduction to his style. Many people don't quite get Mills because his DJ style was very fast, energetic and rough. He'd make a lot of mistakes but overriding that was a real sense of tension that very few, if any, DJs get. It all sounded at times as his three records on the go at one would fall apart and yet, like a surfer catching the crest of a wave, he'd be managing to just about keep it going.



Jeff Mills - Live at the Liquid Rooms (1995)

We'll return to his later career (which became a lot more album-based and conceptual) at some point in the future.

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Duncan » 28 Feb 2013, 17:07

Fab, cheers, I'll give all this a proper listen over the weekend when I'm not at work. The second generation Detroit stuff is my favourite techno. I hope that there's space in this corner of BCB for a big Drexciya celebration soon.
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby The Modernist » 22 May 2014, 16:44

Here's a pretty amazing site, very well put together -you could lose yourself in here for hours. Goes rather well Toby's great thread.
http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 05 Sep 2014, 22:29

This is still in gestation - I need a bit more time to finish the next few posts.

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby dgs » 15 Oct 2014, 20:42

Mark Bell of LFO has passed this month.

Great producer/contributor and I am sure this would have featured in this thread somewhere,

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 16 Oct 2014, 01:14

Vale. Loved LFO. Simon Reynolds raved about them in Energy Flash which got me into them.

He's got a bunch of youtube links on his blog

http://blissout.blogspot.com.au/2014/10 ... -bell.html
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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 16 Oct 2014, 10:29

Image

I think Mark Bell's passing might be the first musician death that has truly affected me. LFO and his solo projects were at the forefront of British techno - and I always remember that landmark NME cover with him and Gez Varley smashing up guitars; whilst the paper itself may have rejected that approach, it did feel like something was HAPPENING...

Anyway, Bell's music and productions were outstanding.. The Clark "Lofthouse" EP on Carl Craig's Planet E label is probably the finest techno record ever made - because every track encapsulates the range of emotions that techno can produce on the dancefloor - as well as absolute bangers..




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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 20 Oct 2017, 13:40

Blimey, I never finished this. Must do so.

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Re: Bleep's Techno thread

Postby fange » 11 Jun 2018, 15:02

Toby wrote: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.


I've been playing a lot of Italo-disco today for some reason, especially Kano, and just have the urge to post a couple of them here and reread Toby's fine thread. That mix of euphoric dance grooves and pop smarts on so many Italo-disco tracks still hits my pleasure zones bang on.






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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Toby » 11 Jun 2018, 15:53

Italo is the last great hurrah of naive pop music.

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Re: Bleep's History of Techno

Postby Darkness_Fish » 11 Jun 2018, 20:54

Whoa, great thread, I'll have to go through some of this in more depth when I've got more time. I never knew there was post Val Doonican music discussed with this level of detail on BCB.
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