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Techno Music in Detroit - Essay Example

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The Detroit music scene was a unique phenomena during 80's among electronic music, which has just raised as a stand-alone genre. This paper is going to dive into the urban beats of the most underground style ever…
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Techno Music in Detroit
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Techno Music in Detroit

Techno, although seen as the voiceless, computerized machine-music of the 1990s, actually originated in the mid-1980s in Detroit and Chicago where avant garde disco DJs were experimenting with minimalist ‘industrial’ sounds (Reynolds 1998: 2), influenced in parts by disco, Philly soul, and European synth-pop (Hoffmann), Few people associate techno with its African American origins yet the three individuals most closely associated with the birth of Detroit techno as a genre are the "Belleville Three", Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May. These three African American high school friends from Detroit learned and mastered the art of ‘mixing’ electronic music (Reynolds 1998: 2).
They soon found to their surprise that their basement music was in dance floor demand, thanks in part to a Detroit radio personality known as The Electrifying Mojo (Reynolds 1998: 2). Mojo not only played their early home grown techno tracks, but also influenced the new sound by playing electronic music from pioneers like Kraftwerk who were based in Düsseldorf, Germany. The band Kraftwerk was masterminded by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, and have been widely accredited as the major influence on Detroit techno. In particular, their albums `Autobahn` from 1975, `Transeuropa Express` from 1977 and `Die Mensch-Maschine` from 1978, contributed to their reputation as the ‘Godfathers of Techno’ (Reynolds 1998: 2). ...
Though, Detroit had a larger African American population, the chcago area, which had segregated black neighbourhoods, produced DJs who had their own individualistic styles. Party holders took advantage of these styles and organised their down town gatherings by inviting the best DJs from both the Westside and the Southside neighbourhoods. These events usually housed up to 5000 young people from both Chicago and Detroit. This meant that the Chicago DJs had more structure and were cutting more than the Detroit DJs (Hoffmann).
Eventually Detroit DJs started working on their own tracks and giving it to Chicago's 'Hot Mix people' who started playing it in the various clubs and on radio stations, calling it "the 'house' sound of Detroit". By linking this new sound to Chicago, its DJs controlled how much influence was given to Detroit owing to intense competition and a need to keep the music culture strong in Chicago alone (Hoffmann). However, there were many DJs who were happy to help DJs Juans and Derricks by playing their tracks tracks which were created by mixing and blending music, creating a smoother music compared to the Chicago DJs who had a different beat and a different vocal every eight bars.
Although producers in both cities used the same hardware and even collaborated on projects and remixes together, Detroiters traded the choir-friendly vocals of House with metallic clicks, robotic voices and repetitive hooks reminiscent of an automotive assembly line. It is this characteristic of the genre that provides the argument by authors such as Williams (2001: 158) who suggests that Detroit techno was a soundtrack for the evisceration of ... Read More
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