Monday, April 26, 2010

Week 48: Detroit Techno

I'm nearing the end of this whole year of mixtapes project, so here's another genre that I couldn't really leave unrepresented. A lot of people still don't realize this, but Detroit's African American community invented techno. Anybody who says different is either uninformed or selling something.

Detroit's local brand of techno has some key differences from the countless other types of techno that have evolved from it in the last 25 years—generally speaking it's more "soulful" (whatever that means); it's more in touch with its roots in house and electro; and it's got a heavy tendency toward Black Nationalist and sci-fi themes (although in a primarily instrumental genre, these themes are often conveyed more through song titles and cover art than actual lyrical content).

I've started this tape off with some classic first-wave Detroit Techno, and gradually progress into the (somewhat) newer stuff.

  1. Rhythim is Rhythim; Strings of Life (Piano Mix) (Transmat, 1987)
  2. K.S. Experience; Electronic Dance (KMS / Ten Records, 1988)
  3. Model 500; Sound of Stereo (Metroplex, 1987)
  4. Suburban Knight; The Art of Stalking (Transmat, 1990)
  5. Paris Grey; Don't Lead Me (Nexus 21 Remix) (Network Records, 1990)
  6. Mia Hesterley; Spark (Chrissy Instrumental Edit) (Metroplex / Ten Records, 1988)
  7. Inner City; Big Fun (Magic Juan Mix) (KMS / Virgin, 1988)
  8. Juan Atkins; Techno Music (Ten Records / Metroplex, 1988)
  9. Model 500; No UFOs (D-Mix) (Metroplex, 1985)
  10. Rhythim is Rhythim; Feel Surreal (Subconscious Mix) (Transmat, 1988)
  11. Nexus 21 feat. Donna Black; Still (Life Keeps Moving) (Carl Craig Remix) (Network Records / KMS, 1990)
  12. Inner City; Good Life (Magic Juan's Mix) (Virgin, 1988)
  13. Blake Baxter; Brothers Gonna Work It Out (Black Planet) (Logic Records, 1992)
  14. Cybersonik; Technarchy (Plus 8, 1990)
  15. E-Dancer; Pump The Move (KMS, 1991)
  16. Alan Oldham; Orietta's Theme (Generator, 1995)
  17. Suburban Knight; The Warning (Underground Resistance, 1996)
  18. Drexciya; The Journey Home (Warp Records, 1995)
  19. Model 500; I Wanna Be There (M500 Remix) (R&S Records, 1996)
  20. Aquajazz; Bodyrhythms Bodyfusion (Carl Craig Mix) (Aquarhythms, 1995)
  21. DJ Mark Flash; Cachaca (Underground Resistance, 2008)
  22. Blake Baxter / Dreamsequence III; Compromised Evolution (Tresor, 2001)
  23. Suburban Knight; Shapeshifter (Peacefrog Records, 2003)
  24. Underground Resistance; Electronic Warfare (Aux 88's Take Control Mix) (Underground Resistance, 1996)
  25. Drexciya; Black Sea (Warp Records, 1995)
  26. Underground Resistance; Codebreaker (Underground Resistance, 1997)
  27. Robert Hood; Parade (M-Plant / Tresor, 1994)
NEXT WEEK: The Golden Era of Happy Hardcore.


  1. Thanks again for the mixes. I've linked to your site from a mixtape forum I'm on ( so hopefully you'll get some new visitors soon.

  2. LOVE IT!

    Waiting for next week! Can't wait to see what you pull out for your last 3 mixes!!!

    Almost there!

    I'm gonna buy your albums after you're done as a parting gift to both of us!


  3. been looking forward to this one! pretty sure you know this but i was kinda disappointed you didn't speak more on the belleville three and juan atkins in particular. considering they, ya know, pretty much invented detroit techno.

  4. I didn't go into it because I felt like there were a lot of sources already covering that story, you know?

  5. This is brilliant, thanks dude. Also loved the rave mixes and New Beat/EBM one, pretty much sums up what I grew up with. How about some early tech house?

  6. This is brilliant dude! Also loved the New Beat/EBM and Rave mixes. Pretty much sums up what I grew up with. if there's any Trojan records mixes out there or early tech house??

  7. any detroit techno mix without the gay man's mortal kombat theme, aka strings of life is incomplete.


  8. oh yeah, let it be known that tracks like strings of life basically saved chicago house from extinction. Most Chicago people won't admit it, but a select few of objective people will admit that had it not been for Detroit, Chicago house music as we know it today would have gone from stale to nonexistent!


  9. Excellent. "Suburban Knight - The Warning" FTW

  10. what!@?% almost the end of the year? oh man...

    acid? is acid on the list? can acid be on the list??!

    ok i'll calm down now.

  11. Shit! I have every tune here and I usually mix 'em in a similar way... I'm so fucking glad I discovered your blog. Best mixtapes on the interwebs. You star!!

    Gerald Emerald

  12. some great tunes!

    i'm not disagreeing techno was officially born in Detroit but don't you think it was at least heavily influenced by mid to late eighties Chicago "house"?

  13. oh absolutely...until 1988, even the detroit kids referred to techno as "detroit house". "Techno" was really invented by Juan Atkins being consulted by some UK record execs who thought the term "Detroit house" wasn't marketable to British audiences...
    But didn't wanna get into the whole thing in the blog post :)

  14. This mix is awesome!!! Takes me back to growing up in Michigan.

  15. maaaan, how can you have such a wide range? i dont know how you do it brother. youre an inspiration to us all, almost god like. an what a tune selection! so underground. Where d'you find those tracks!?

  16. good list, i just wish u wouldn't of mentioned that you liked dubstep and hi-NRG in your profile.. yuk! :(

  17. haha be more openminded you arrogant tool

  18. I find it funny that you say "until 1988, even the detroit kids referred to techno as "detroit house", as if you were there(which you weren't) or are some sort of Professor of knowledge on the Detroit techno scene.

  19. I am going from what people have said in interviews. People like Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May. Obviously you see it differently, and there are a lot of different perspectives on this, and the word "Techno" did exist before '88 (like in "Techno City" by Cybotron, for instance), but the point is that without Chicago House, Detroit Techno would be a VERY different thing.

  20. Fine, ill sort of agree. Techno literally came from the Cybotron track. I think the real point is tho, without Kraftwerk and George Clinton and disco, Detroit techno would be a totally different thing. Without Chicago house, Detroit techno might be a little different, not much imho. WE MADE THE JIT/Y'ALL AINT MADE SHIT! :)

  21. haha I think we're saying the same thing but disagreeing on the percentages...

  22. nice mix, Drexciya is still my favorite produceur almost 10 years after Stinson's death, RIP..

  23. Hype mix thankyou sooo much!