Monday, April 9, 2007
Techno music came out of Detroit in the 1980's, and carried the influences of popular electronic music of the 1970's to the dancefloors. The music features regular, pouding beats coupled with distorted synthesized sequences.
The best known early techno producers are Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, sometimes known as the Belleville Three. They made music for clubs that was a urban take on the music of German musicians like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream were making. While Techno made it to the clubs in Chicago and New York, it was a largely underground style throughout the eighties.
What is Techno?
TB303 TB-303 TB 303Techno is pure electronic music, originally designed for dances, that combines the sound of classic German electronica with an american Urban feel. The music emphasizes the machine sound of electronic drum machines, especially the Roland TR-808, and often is based around repetitive riffs played on bass line sequencers like the Roland TB-303.
The history of techno starts in Detroit. The style emerged there when musicians took cheap, used electronic instruments and abused them in ways never intended by their creators. Early techno artists drew on science fiction and futuristic themes in their music. The techno sound depicted a place unlike the aging Detroit city where it was born. The music and the themes of the songs were intended to sound like something from the future. “It’s an attitude to making music that sounds futuristic,” according to techno pioneer Juan Atkins, “something that hasn’t been done before.”
One of the best known early techno songs is "Alleys of your Mind", by techno artists Cybotron. Works from Atkins, May and Saunderson didn't make the charts, but were very influential because they were played in major clubs in the US. In 1988, a compilation called Techno! The New Dance Sound helped define the style.
In the 90's, artists in Europe began to take the Detroit sound of early techno songs and morph it. New variations were created, including acid, ambient techno, hardcore, and jungle. The techno style has gained more popularity in Europe than it has in the United States, because electronica has been popularized more in Europe than in the US.
Techno has been associated with raves since the nineties. The idea of a rave is just a techno party where like-minded techno fans can get together and dance to continuous dj mixes of electronic music. These have been particularly popular in Europe. In 2000, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival became one of the largest and most significant electronica events in the world. It was free and attracted hundreds of thousands of techno music fance from all over the world.
Synthtopia Techno Reviews
Bjork - Debut
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Debut was released in 1993, and it sounds as adventurous and free-spirited as ever. Bjork sings fearlessly, turning her relatively weak voice into one of the strongest voices in electronic pop music.
BT - Emotional Technology
Saturday, November 22, 2003
BTs latest is full of his trademark audio wizardry. The production is hot, but do the songs measure up?
BT - Movement in Still Life
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
BT is at his strongest on trance tracks, but on Movement in Still Life he takes on a new genre with every song. His hyperkinetic production style reaches new extremes as he slices and dices the sound with ginsu aplomb. Not the pure trance album that many listeners may want, Movement in Still Life is a great album nevertheless.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
BT hits a home run with ESCM, a near-perfect collection of trance and dance tunes that showcases his technical chops and musical vision.
Carl Cox - Phuture 2000
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Cox delivers a mixed bag of techno and house dance tracks on Phuture 2000. At its best, Phuture 2000 is state-of-the-art minimal dance music. Even at its worst, the music sounds just sounds like Cox needed a couple of tunes to pad out the album.
Chemical Brothers - Push the Button
Friday, April 15, 2005
?The Chemical Brothers are back and, unlike some of their contemporaries, they refuse to fade away. On Push the Button, they enlist a interesting set of collaborators, giving the album a variety of sounds without sounding fragmented.
DJ Sandra Collins - Tranceport 3
Saturday, April 17, 2004
DJ Sandra Collins handles the mixing duties on the third incarnation of the excellent Tranceport series. Previous disks, mixed by Paul Oakenfold and DJ Dave Ralph, effectively established the Tranceport identity - interesting trance mixes for dancing or listening. Collins delivers another winner with this smooth collection of trance and techno sounds.
Fatboy Slim - Better Living Through Chemistry
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Slim's loop-based style is in abundance on this CD, and there's more than enough beats, 303 bassline, and catchy hooks to keep dance electronica fans happy.
Fatboy Slim - You've Come a Long Way, Baby
Saturday, March 06, 2004
Fatboy Slim delivers the big-beat techno sounds that he is famous for. This Funk Soul Brother may be a middle-aged white guy named Norman Cook, but on this release, he proves that he can lay down the beats with the best of them.
Ilya - Dreaming Loud
Thursday, July 14, 2005
The latest cd by Ilya, Dreaming Loud, is a polished set of 14 original trance compositions.
Klaus Schulze - Body Love
Thursday, December 04, 2003
"Body Love" had inauspicious beginnings as the background music of a erotic movie by Lasse Braun. Instead of the cheesy jazz typical of 70's adult movies, Klaus Schulze pumped out a masterpiece of throbbing electronica.
Madonna - Ray of Light
Sunday, January 04, 2004
The latest music from dance divas Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears vear off into electronica territory, but they never rise to the level of work that Madonna has been putting out for years.
On Ray of Light, Madonna works with electronica artist William Orbit, and the result is one of the best combinations of the electronica and pop worlds ever put to CD.
Moby - Hotel
Friday, April 15, 2005
Hotel, the latest CD from Moby, is a two-cd set that delivers some of the most intimate work that he has ever done.
Orbital - Blue Album
Monday, September 13, 2004
The latest album from UK electronica pioneers Orbital, entitled the Blue Album, finds the Hartnoll brothers returning to their roots. The brothers make no concessions to current trends, instead staying close to the sound they created on their earliest CDs. The new CD, which said to be their last, is a fitting finale..
Orbital by Orbital
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Orbital's self-titled debut collects some of their earliest singles, and though the cuts are nearly 15 years old, they hold up well.
Paul Oakenfold - A Lively Mind
Sunday, July 30, 2006
The first single from the latest Paul Oakenfold CD A Lively Mind, is scorching hot. Is the rest of the CD as hot?
Paul Oakenfold - A Vogage Into Trance
Sunday, January 04, 2004
This twelve-track mix collects some great trance cuts and combines them into a non-stop DJ mix. A great release from one of the top DJs in the world.
Propellerheads - Decks and drums and rock and roll
Sunday, November 30, 2003
The album name sums up the sound of this album. It is full of loops, samples, and drum machines, but also manages to rock on many cuts.
Robert Miles - Dreamland
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Robert Miles' 1996 album is a set of upbeat, melodic trance cuts. These are targeted to a mainstream dance audience, and are filled with catchy melodies. These tunes sound great at the club, but are equally at home at the dance floor as the are in the chill-out room.
Sarah McLachlan - Bloom Remixes
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Bloom brings together an A-list of remixers and gives them all a chance to work with some great material. The remixers include Sly & Robbie, DMC, DJ Talvin Singh, Junky XL, and Thievery Corporation.
Sylver - Nighttime Calls
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Nighttime Calls is full of uptempo dance tracks. The production is solid throughout, the tracks are full of hooks and Sylver seems to be intent on keeping the dance floor moving.
The Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
This 1995 album put 'big beat' into the lingo. Plenty of sampled loops, squelchy TB303 basslines, and a compressed kick that won't quit add up to upbeat, danceable techno.
The Orb - The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld
Sunday, January 11, 2004
The first album from The Orb had a distinctive sound when it was released. It mixed ambient music with downtempo grooves, creating a pop ambient style that has helped move ambient music into the mainstream.
Underworld - Beaucoup Fish
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Beaucoup Fish is not the ultimate Underworld album that fans may dream of. Instead, it is a challenging, sometimes messy album that seems richer with each listening. The uncompromising approach Underworld takes on Beaucoup Fish keeps the music a little edgy, and makes it a treat for electronica fans.
Various - Animatrix
Thursday, December 11, 2003
If you thought the two Matrix sequels were overhyped, you're not alone.
On the other hand, if you missed the animated feature The Animatrix, you missed some of the most exciting visuals and storytelling of the series. The soundtrack CD is exceptional, too.
Various - komposi003
Friday, April 28, 2006
komposi003 is the third compilation from Positron! Records, and features tracks from Aizome, Amish Rake Fight, Atomica, Bounte, Micronaut, Milkfish, s.sturgis, and Scanalyzer.
Various - South Beach Sounds-Miami Music Week Vol. 1
Saturday, April 29, 2006
South Beach Sounds-Miami Music Week Vol. 1 is a CD/DVD collection that takes viewers on a trip to one of the top electronic music/dance events in the world, Miami Music Week.
Techno Music Sites
This very professional site brings the latest european techno and trance music to the net. DI has several free streaming stations, including techno, trance, vocal trance, hard trance, chillout, and hardcore.
Moby has been one of the most popular an influential electronica artists of the 90's and the new millenium. His site has a journal that he frequently updates, information on new releases, message boards, and his intelligent essays on a variety of subjects.
MP3.com may be dead in the US, but this Australian version is worth checking out!
This is the official website of Tangerine Dream, and is a very polished, professional site. There is news, a history of Tangerine Dream, its members and performers, a discography, and a photo archive. There are audio clips from their albums, and even a TD store.