from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Development phase: second half of the 1980s
Place of origin: Europe , North America
Stylistic precursors
Acid HouseChicago HouseNew BeatEBMSynth-PopDetroit TechnoElectro FunkIndustrialAmbientBerlin School
Instruments typical of the genre
SynthesizerDrum computerSequencerSamplerMusic workstationMusic software
Acid TechnoDub TechnoHardcore TechnoMinimal TechnoSchranz
Portal.svg  Portal Techno

Techno [ ˈtɛkno (ʊ) ] is a style of music that emerged in the second half of the 1980s through the amalgamation of several styles of electronic dance music . The basic rhythm of house music , in particular, is the minimalist, bass drum-emphasized rhythm . Techno draws further essential elements from the electronically generated styles of the 1970s and 1980s, mostly developed in Europe (such as Synth-Pop , EBM and New Beat , but also Detroit Techno ). The style, which was still called Techno House in the early days, flourished in the 1990s and produced numerous subspecies. There is a separate youth culture around music , the techno scene .

“Techno” is also used as a generic term for various related styles of electronic dance music. In this context, it ties in with the understanding of the 1980s, when “techno” had a function as a collective term for “technologically advanced music”.

Stylistic features

The techno music style describes synthetically produced, mostly ostensibly rhythm-oriented dance music. Characteristic is the 4/4 time with an emphasis on each quarter by an electronic bass drum and the (mostly open) hi-hat on the straight eighth notes. Additional elements are the closed hi-hat on all sixteenth notes and the snare drum or handclap on every second quarter. The harmony follows chords is of secondary importance, instead, often experimenting with different sounds and their interaction. The tone colors mostly oscillate in the industrial or metallic area. The compositions are based on so-called repetitive arrangements . However, they often build up in stages by adding effects, surface sounds or by sprinkling in individual percussion elements that fit seamlessly into the rhythm pattern.


Early electronic music

From Sala and Stockhausen to Kraftwerk

Karlheinz Stockhausen 1994

Oskar Sala and Karlheinz Stockhausen are considered the early pioneers of electronic music . Her ideas and works combined classical compositions with technology . In the late 1960s and early 1970s they were the inspiration for the contemporary music of the formation Kraftwerk from Düsseldorf . With their fourth album Autobahn (1974), Kraftwerk laid the foundation for the electro-pop music style . Her albums Mensch-Maschine (1978) and Computerwelt (1981) are considered to be particularly influential on later musical development, some of which already showed the minimalist, danceable elements typical of techno.

In 1982 Afrika Bambaataa published the title Planet Rock , in which he processed the melody of the Kraftwerk title Trans-Europe Express . Planet Rock is now considered a classic of early hip-hop , the cornerstone of electro or electro funk and promoted the popularity of Kraftwerk in the United States, where the formation became an important source of inspiration for later techno pioneers.

European innovators of the 1970s and 1980s

The disco producer Giorgio Moroder was already using synthesizers for repetitive dance rhythms in the 1970s. His track I Feel Love , produced in 1976 for Donna Summer , is considered a milestone in disco as the basis of house and electronic dance music in general.

Jean-Michel Jarre , Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno as well as Ash Ra Tempel alias Manuel Göttsching did pioneering work in the field of melodic synthesizer music in the 1970s and 1980s and were an important source of inspiration.

1979, the first released single from Yello . This Swiss formation brought innovations in the field of sampling and unusual rhythm structures. Techno producers like Derrick May or Oliver Lieb name them today as a source of inspiration.

The British synth-pop band Depeche Mode , founded in 1980, is still regularly cited as an inspiration by Detroit techno founders Derrick May , Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins .

The British industrial act Cabaret Voltaire is cited by various techno producers such as Tanith or Richie Hawtin as an influencing factor and is considered essential for the development of Detroit techno .

The term “Techno” in the 1980s


In the early 1980s, the term “techno” was mostly used in synth-pop / new-wave and electro-funk- oriented music productions. Some examples of this are Man Parrish with Techno Trax , Testpattern with Techno Age , Ava Cherry with Techno Love , The Techno Orchestra with Techno Refugee (all four in 1982) or Kraftwerk with Techno Pop (1983). In 1982 the backing duo of Soft Cell , Vicious Pink , was said to have coined the term techno .

In Germany at this time, the Frankfurt music lover Andreas Tomalla (alias Talla 2XLC ) was working in the “City-Music” record store under Frankfurt Central Station . From 1982 he sorted records with electronically produced music into a separate category and named it “Techno”. At the time, DJs like Sven Väth based themselves on this combination when buying records. In 1984 Tomalla opened the techno club , which made the term even more popular.

In addition to electronic pop music ( Depeche Mode , Anne Clark ) and electro-funk ( A Number Of Names , Cybotron ), the newly created collective name soon also included categories such as (post) industrial ( Cabaret Voltaire , Clock DVA ), EBM ( Front 242 , Nitzer Ebb ) and generally electronically arranged varieties of the New Wave era (see Electro Wave ), later also Detroit Techno, which was strongly influenced by European styles of music. In this form, “techno” was able to establish itself as the umbrella term for electronic music internationally - and preferably in the German-speaking area - up to the beginning of the 1990s.

A major difference to the later Techno House wave in the 1990s was the motivation that led to the emergence of the music styles grouped under “Techno” in the 1970s and 1980s. Several artists were socially critical and tried - thematically as well as aural - to deal with dystopian visions of the future, post-industrial and urban decay, emotional coldness or fears of nuclear disasters. The sometimes seemingly contradictory effort to use modern technology to point out the immediate danger of this was not a central theme within the later techno house movement, which (comparable to acid house) emerged ostensibly as a party culture.

Status of a parallel occurrence

When, in the late 1980s, a style that was strongly influenced by house music emerged under the name “Techno”, confusion soon ensued. Until 1993, the techno magazine Frontpage tried to point out the differences between the early techno of the 1980s and the newly emerged Techno House style . Since both currents called themselves “Techno”, several alternatives to renaming the new type of game “Tekni” or “Comp” were proposed, but these never caught on.

Thus, the styles of the 1980s (cf. Synth-Pop, EBM and Post-Industrial) and the directions of the 1990s based on them (e.g. dark electro and electro-industrial ) enjoyed under the collective name of “techno” Three years of parallel status.

Significant predecessor genres and influencing factors

European influences


On the basis of electronic avant-garde music and musique concrète , industrial developed in the 1970s . Typical for this direction were tonal overloads, background noises or compositions similar to machine noise, often enriched with samples (especially film and radio recordings) or screaming singing. The focus was on the provocation and the uninhibited presentation of the brutality of everyday life. The resulting material includes topics such as war, torture, murder, fascism, terrorism, isolation or sexual perversion.

Important representatives of industrial, including Throbbing Gristle , Cabaret Voltaire and SPK , influenced numerous producers from the techno environment on a musical level. Industrial was also important for the development of hardcore techno or gabber and served as a source of inspiration for other techno subspecies. Throbbing Gristle's 1981 single Discipline contains an early danceable form of industrial. An engraving on the run-out of the A-side describes the music as techno primative .


In Germany in particular, some musicians such as DAF , Liaisons Dangereuses or Die Krupps used the possibilities of newly developed sequencers at the beginning of the 1980s and as part of the Neue Deutsche Welle . The repetitive sound loops created in this process, strongly influenced by minimalism, primarily inspired music projects from Belgium ( Front 242 ), Great Britain ( Nitzer Ebb ) and then all over Europe. These musicians in turn crossed the powerful, voluminous sounds of Electropunk with early industrial and thus laid the foundation for Electronic Body Music , the era of which initially extended into the early 1990s.

In this case, EBM is considered to be a major influencing factor for the emergence of Detroit Techno , New Beat and later also Goa Trance . As early as the late 1980s, there were first overlays with acid house , for example Bigod 20 ( Acid To Body , 1988). DJs and producers such as Sven Väth , Richie Hawtin and DJ Hell played EBM in the 1980s and this style brought them to techno.

New beat

According to tradition, New Beat came about by chance when DJ Marc Grouls played the 1986 single "Flesh" by the Belgian electronic group A Split-Second at 33 rpm instead of 45 rpm. Rather, some of Grouls' statements convey the impression that New Beat developed specifically as a countermovement to the simultaneously existing acid house wave . The audience could not get used to the speed of acid house, many clubbers found it almost impossible to dance on.

Subsequently, older sound carriers were initially played back slowly, including EBM classics, but there was also no stopping of renowned acid tracks. The first New Beat records found their way into music stores and department stores, labels like Antler Subway marketed New Beat on a large scale.

Characteristic for the new direction were speeds between 90 and 115 bpm as well as the numerous influences from EBM, Acid House or Hi-NRG . Just two years later, the new beat boom was over. However, he brought forth a number of techno producers and is therefore considered the cradle of the techno scene in Belgium.

House music

Chicago House

In the 1980s, the Warehouse discotheque in Chicago developed the house as a further development of the 1970s disco sound. The typical vinyl single at that time already contained a version with an extended rhythm passage (mostly titled "Club Mix"). Especially the two DJs Frankie Knuckles (from the Chicago warehouse, eponymous for the later House) and Larry Levan (from the New York discotheque Paradise Garage , eponymous for " Garage House ") recognized the hypnotic and euphoric effect of these monotonous interludes and began to to mix only these passages from different records and leave out the rest of the songs. Sometimes the same record was bought in duplicate in order to artificially lengthen its rhythm part. Knuckles and Levan are now considered to be the founders of the House.

Soon a number of producers such as Ron Hardy , Steve Hurley and Marshall Jefferson began to release their first records in Chicago under the name "House".

Acid House
Smiley icon

Before techno became a mass movement, Acid House caused a sensation in the late 1980s . Acid House, initially a particularly hard and minimalist version of the Chicago house sound created around 1984/85, was particularly popular in England and on the holiday island of Ibiza. Acid House seemed like a real hippie vival in its outward appearance . Free love was propagated during the “ Second Summer of Love ” in 1988, as was the unbridled consumption of intoxicants . The smiley was used to identify the music and the scene .

The trend was intensely hyped by the media and very quickly marketed on a large scale . Conventional dance music was even sold retrospectively on rummaging tables with smiley buttons.

Then it became known that acid was the slang synonym for the drug LSD and that the intoxicant ecstasy was also very popular in the scene. The reactions were strict police controls and countless raids. The department stores withdrew all smiley items from their assortment for fear of damage to their image and large radio stations refused to play acid house productions, even if they were in the top ten. The consequence of this boycott was the rapid disappearance of the acid house scene.

"The House Sound of Detroit"

The new approaches to electronic music styles spread quickly and were also the subject of the Midnight Funk Association nightly radio show in Detroit in the early 1980s , which was hosted by Charles Johnson (aka The Electrifying Mojo ). Johnson explicitly paid attention to a balanced variety of sounds and tried to combine numerous musical styles in his broadcast. This program was ultimately the main source of inspiration for producers Juan Atkins , Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson (often referred to as the Belleville Three ). Together with Richard Davies , Juan Atkins published electro-funk tracks under the name Cybotron until the mid-1980s, initially strongly oriented towards the European SynthPop sound (including Techno City , 1984). Another project in a similar style was Model 500.

In 1986 and 1987, Detroit electro producers gradually turned to Chicago house music. The Acid House, which was created about two years earlier, anticipated the essential elements of the style that has become known as Detroit Techno (or Detroit Techno House ): the distinctive 4/4 bass drum of the Roland TR-909 and the omission of traditional song structures, especially the Reduction or the elimination of vocals formed the basic characteristics of the "new" direction (for example, Kevin Saunderson used an Ensoniq Mirage sampling synthesizer for his early Detroit productions , as used by the Chicago producer Chip E. in 1985).

“How did Electro get into Detroit Techno? Around 1985 it was over with electro, the scene drifted into the regular hip-hop world. But hip-hop was always too slow for me. At the same time, House started in Chicago. I liked the beat then. So I replaced the conventional electro rhythm with this 'bumbumbumbum', the four-to-the-floor timpani. And that's about it. "

- Juan Atkins, music producer

In the summer of 1988, the music achieved international fame: The British label 10 Records put some of the productions together in a compilation called The House Sound of Detroit . Inspired by Juan Atkins' piece of Techno Music , it was renamed Techno shortly before its release ! The New Dance Sound of Detroit . Even back then, Detroit Techno was seen less as an independent style than as a variant or modification of the acid house sound:

“While the well-known Chicago house numbers of the early days, such as“ Love Can't Turn Around ”, still had a certain song structure with vocals and dramaturgy, 'Techno! [The New Dance Sound of Detroit] 'where house has meanwhile arrived under the heading of' acid ': trance-like, spartan rhythm repetition, and in addition, as a European early eighties component, long-lasting swabs of the keys. "

- Ralf Niemczyk, SPEX music magazine, 1988

Regardless of this, the Detroit techno sound is often viewed as a bridge between American house and European electronics and is therefore particularly in the USA, not only because of its name, as an early form and direct forerunner of later techno music.

Style development and expansion

The beginnings

Club in a Berlin industrial hall

Despite the rapid sell-out of Acid House , parties continued to take place, which in England grew into huge events - the so-called raves .

Worldwide, New Beat , EBM, Detroit Techno, House and other types of electronic music merged to form Techno House . It is controversial whether the term “techno” was derived from Detroit techno or from the collective term of the same name that was internationally widespread in the 1980s. Techno house was then shortened to the first term techno - corresponding to acid house . Since the term “techno” was used differently at that time, mainly in the German-speaking area, some Berliners changed the spelling to “ Tekkno ” in 1989 for their party series Tekknozid . For the time being, this spelling was widely adopted in Germany. At times, the supposed harshness of the sound was advertised at the parties by the number of K's .

In Frankfurt am Main , the first techno publications influenced by New Beat and Acid House appeared in 1988 under the label Sound of Frankfurt , with artists such as Out of the Ordinary , Robotiko Rejekto , Konzept, Klangwerk / LDC or Master Program. For a while these were very popular, especially in the Rhine / Main area, and thanks to an intensive exchange, they also became known abroad. Record labels such as New Zone and Suck Me Plasma played a key role in this .

At the beginning of the 1990s, the versatile techno sound was initially hardly divided into styles or categories. There was usually a large dance floor and the DJs played their way through various facets of techno music within a party. Usually two DJs shared a night. At the end of 1991 a new party concept came up for the first time with Mayday . In order to advertise with as many well-known producers and DJs as possible, the playing time of the respective DJ was cut to less than an hour. This concept was very successful and was increasingly found at events. In particular, the Loveparade as an open-air institution and the techno magazine Frontpage, originally from Frankfurt, as a specialist magazine from the very beginning, contributed to the rapid popularization of techno in Germany. The techno scene quickly developed its own media formats. Numerous regional fanzines sprang up from the ground. The most important techno mags of this time included the Berliner Flyer , the Raveline , the TenDance , the Partysan , the 1000 , Groove and many others.

Formation of stylistic and regional characteristics

At that time the Roland TB-303 was rediscovered in the techno scene , a monophonic, very simple bass synthesizer that was responsible for the characteristic sound of acid house. Acid techno was born. At the same time, producers and composers such as Harald Blüchel and Paul van Dyk began to combine the new techno structures with harmonic chords and melodies: trance developed and increasingly formed an independent genre. Initially in Frankfurt am Main (through Marc Acardipane ) and a little later in Amsterdam , The Hague and Rotterdam , hardcore techno developed .

In Germany, new sounds typical of the region emerged from the beginning to the mid-1990s - mostly shaped by local record labels. Among other things, the Sound of Frankfurt presented itself in a new guise, primarily supported by Harthouse , Eye Q Records and then by 23 Frankfurt and Frankfurt Beat Productions . Achim Szepanski also founded the Force Inc. Music Works label in Frankfurt . In Berlin, the Tresor Club with its own label and its producers such as Jeff Mills , Daniel Bell and Joey Beltram was pioneering for heavier sounds, in the trance area it was above all MFS and low for a mixture of simple melodies and fast techno rhythms suitable for the masses Spirit (from WestBam ). Popular acid techno came from Cologne with the circle of producers around Wolfgang Voigt and Dr. Walker , Essen with Important Records and Baden-Württemberg ( Noom Records ). Also stationed in Hamburg was the Superstition Records label , which celebrated many successes with melodic trance releases.

While an enormous variety of styles developed in Europe and techno became a cultural movement, the scene in the USA continued to take place primarily underground and the music stayed close to its sonic roots (see e.g. Underground Resistance , Steve Stoll and Damon Wild ). The successes of American producers in Europe were also far greater than, for example, in the United States. So some of them changed their place of residence and moved to Europe (e.g. Jeff Mills to Berlin ).

At the same time (mainly coming from Detroit ) another style of techno developed, the so-called minimal techno . Formative were primarily Robert Hood with the album Minimal Nation , Terrence Dixon with his label utensil Records as well as from Oxfordshire / Ontario native Richie Hawtin .


The music industry, which was aimed at the mass market, took advantage of the growing popularity of techno early on. Tracks like “Das Boot” by U 96 (1991), James Brown Is Dead by LA Style or Don't You Want Me by Felix (1992) were the first chart successes of productions that were oriented towards techno. On the mainstream oriented cross between techno, hip house and pop incurred and with representatives like 2 Unlimited and Culture Beat widely the term Dancefloor marketed.

Around 1994, the first trance productions made it into the charts and more and more pop songs were published whose speed and rhythm were based on techno (e.g. Dune or Scooter ).

Around this time, the first productions were made by producers from genres such as pop and folk music , in which hard electronic bass hits were used on the quarters. In 1995 a Smurfs CD was also released with the title Tekkno ist cool , which contained cover versions of well-known dance hits from the charts. Many such records quickly became very successful, which brought the record companies big revenues.


Techno was mainly a Western European and American movement until the early 1990s, but from 1992 onwards the spark gradually spread across the world. In South America , especially Argentina and Brazil , the first techno parties took place in the larger cities as early as 1990, but the scene did not become a mass movement until 1996, although interest in the genre of music in this part of the world is still growing today. In Japan , too, an initially small, but gradually more and more influential scene began to emerge, which was particularly interested in fusions between techno and other musical styles (e.g. Towa Tei ), but in which J-Pop also emerged. which was commercially successful. Techno parades modeled on the Love Parade were held in many metropolises around the world in the second half of the 1990s and contributed to making techno a global phenomenon. The Arab world, large parts of Africa and South Asia ( apart from the Goa enclave ), where techno has hardly any fans for cultural reasons, are still an exception today .

Development to the present

From around 1994 the underground turned more and more away from trance and increasingly oriented itself again towards harder technoid sounds or the rhythmic minimalism of minimal techno . Psychedelic trance (also Goa or Psytrance) developed a special profile of its own , whose followers, unlike most of the rest of the techno scene , were deeply rooted in their lifestyle and "philosophy" in the hippie culture, but this with modern technology and a certain Connected a penchant for science fiction . Goa parties were a popular form of techno-oriented music, especially in Europe, in the mid to late 1990s. At the same time, however, the major events such as Mayday and Love Parade multiplied their number of visitors, which was accompanied by a certain commercialization. Even non-melodic techno tracks were increasingly represented in the charts.

As a counter-movement, so-called intelligent techno developed, also in the mid-1990s , which, due to its variety of time signature, complex rhythms, industrial and ambient- influenced sound orgies and influences from the most diverse musical genres, could hardly be classified in the techno drawer in the narrower sense . Consequently, the term Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) was established for this type of music at the end of the 1990s . Main representatives were and are artists such as Aphex Twin and Autechre .

From the late 1990s, the techno boom gradually subsided. The supply of large raves fell and many influential labels stopped their activities. Parties increasingly moved from old warehouses to traditional clubs. Nevertheless, techno continued to develop and mingled with other styles of music. While trance in a new form ( Dutch trance with Tiësto and Armin van Buuren ) celebrated a renaissance in Great Britain and the Netherlands around the turn of the millennium , techno music in Central Europe developed more strongly in slow and minimal areas.

The rapid development of computer programs and sampling by computer brought new production methods that made electronic music possible with countless different sounds and effects. Terms like clicks & cuts made the rounds. Once again, Richie Hawtin played an important role when he published Closer To The Edit in 2001, a work in which he cut up many productions by other artists and reassembled them in the form of samples and loops. In 2002 Akufen (Marc Leclair) introduced the concept of microsampling with his album My Way , in which the shortest possible excerpts from various origins (in his case primarily from an old shortwave receiver) are used for new rhythm structures. The first approaches to this technique can be found in Error 129 , who used this technique to produce their EP Controlled Voice ( Telepathic Records ) in 1996 .

Furthermore, a return to the roots took place within the techno scene in many places and sound elements that were much more oriented towards the EBM of the 1980s than the techno sound of the 1990s found their way into the clubs (under by producers such as Johannes Heil , DJ Hell , Thomas P. Heckmann or Luke Slater ). The picking up of Kraftwerk and electro-funk sounds also fostered a new wave of electro releases, renowned producers such as Sven Väth or WestBam occasionally launched tracks in an electro guise, other producers such as Anthony Rother basically specialized in this style .

Some producers and DJs from the early days reoriented themselves, began to experiment again and remembered the time before the hype, while other artists completely disappeared from the public eye. Only a few record labels are currently marketing conventional techno releases and the number of newcomers who make the breakthrough on an international level is correspondingly low. In some cases, disaffection spread, others felt a kind of optimism again. Several producers commented positively on the development and commented that there are those who are serious and who did not get into the techno scene primarily for financial reasons.

Ellen Allien's Berlin label BPitch Control took on an important role in German-speaking countries with new acts such as Paul Kalkbrenner and Modeselektor . The Chancellery label from Heiko Laux with the relatively new figurehead Alexander Kowalski has been a constant value since 1994 . In the field of minimal techno, the label Poker Flat Recordings, founded by Steve Bug in 1998, and the Cologne label Kompakt have become firmly established. After his iconic labels Eye Q Records and Harthouse went bankrupt in 1997, Sven Väth has also been releasing 12 ″ records by various artists on his own label, Cocoon Recordings, since 2002 .

The combination of hits and folk music with techno beats also lived on, but its popularity declined. Pioneering producers like Alexander Marcus achieved lower places in the top 100 at best.

Techno developed from the prevailing avant-garde movement within pop music, which it was in the first half of the 1990s, to more of a genre in a diverse overall music scene. Nevertheless, techno and house still dominate the market in electronic dance music and electronic music in general.

The catchphrase “Electronic Dance Music” (EDM) is now understood to be a commercial version of house designed especially for the mass audience in the USA , as represented by DJs such as David Guetta , Calvin Harris , Bob Sinclar or Avicii . In the words of Berghain resident Ben Klock , EDM and underground are no longer linked.


Since techno is created with the help of electronic devices, it is not necessary for the composer to master a classical instrument (e.g. piano ). In particular, the use of computers and sequencers to control keyboard instruments has earned techno the reputation of cheap music. Expressions such as “plastic waste” or “electronic waste” were used in many places. Nevertheless, there are many musicians who have approached techno production through artistic aspects and intellectual approaches. Conventional song structures were thrown overboard and replaced with new ideas. The music labels R&S Records , Mille Plateaux and Warp with producers such as Cristian Vogel , Wolfgang Voigt and Richard D. James played an important role here .

Drum machines are essential in production . Devices with a percussion sounding as electronic as possible are usually preferred. The TR-808 and the Roland TR-909 from Roland have achieved cult status , but their production had already been discontinued before the actual techno hype. They still have a correspondingly high resale value today. There have been quite a few clones and emulations of these devices as hardware and software. Followers of the originals were never completely convinced by these new editions, even if the tonal differences were often only minimal for outsiders. The most widespread found the DrumStation the company Novation and the software ReBirth RB-338 , the virtual versions of the 909 and includes a 808 in which the tone is different according to the digital based on the original equipment (less pressure).

The synthesizers primarily analog devices are popular because they do not sound as clean as the digital versions and a very wide range of sound variations and modulations using the knob ( potentiometer ) allow. Respect is also paid to improbabilities in operation. Popular devices are, or were, for example TB-303 and Juno 106 . In order to combine the modulation possibilities with the advantages of digital devices, so-called virtual-analog devices were developed. A well-known example is the Clavia Nord Lead . By the techno movement some synthesizer companies were prompted to re-modular systems (eg. As the A-100 of Doepfer ) in their program receive, had the principle only of historical significance.

From the mid-1990s, there was an increasing shift to the computer . While at the beginning it was used purely as a sequencer to control the other devices via MIDI , the increasing performance of PCs brought the possibilities of hard disk recording . Samplers have been replaced by computers. Software companies began developing and selling programs that already contained thousands of prefabricated components (rhythm passages, melody sequences, etc.) that can be combined with one another via a simple screen display. This puzzle principle led to a flood of amateur productions on the Internet on a level that, although not able to keep up with tracks produced with the latest expensive studio equipment, often sound much better than many old techno records from the early days. Nevertheless, large radio stations and well-known DJs consistently refused to play such productions, so that this sub-genre has only reached a small number of potential interested parties exclusively via the Internet. Lovers of this direction are not served on conventional radio and at parties.

The next development step followed with virtual synthesizers, with which a real hardware synthesizer can be simulated on a PC. A well-known example of this is the reactor software. At the same time, traditional sequencer software has been expanded so that virtual devices can be integrated into the system in the form of plug-ins and controlled like externally connected MIDI instruments.

Currently, the efforts of some synthesizer companies are going in the direction of using specially developed software to create a symbiosis between the qualities of real synthesizer hardware and the advantages of the PC. A prominent example is the TI virus from the manufacturer Access . The abbreviation TI stands for Total Integration and refers to the integration of the device into the virtual environment of the PC.

Techno as a collective term

Electronic music with regular kick drum

The attempt to categorize into subgenres is as old as techno music itself. In fact, there have always been and still are (sometimes only temporal and / or spatial) characteristics in the development of techno. This was sometimes based on marketing strategies to arouse the public's interest, but not infrequently also the techno scene itself in order to be able to orientate oneself better in the always unmanageable variety of publications. In many cases, however, a distinction by definition is difficult because the boundaries are almost always fluid.

The following names for sub-genres are common:

  • Detroit Techno , a sound from Detroit that is heavily influenced by Chicago acid house , is often considered the earliest variant of techno music
  • Acid Techno , a harder development of the acid house sound, based on the squeaky sounds of a Roland TB-303 .
  • Dub techno , with sound effects typical for dub
  • Minimal techno , with the artistic approach of reducing techno music to the essentials.
  • Tech house , faster house (not to be confused with techno house).
  • Hardcore techno , with sub-genres such as B. Gabber and Speedcore : very fast techno variants dominated by distorted beats and sounds, which often rely heavily on elements from the industrial / noise sector.
  • Schranz , a harder, originally regional form of techno.
  • Rave , for a few years often used as a collective term for several techno styles, the term “ Eurobeat ”.

Demarcation from House

It often turns out to be difficult to separate the family of techno directions and house from one another. A separation is rejected by many protagonists of the scene, since both musical styles are based on similar basic elements. As a makeshift, House can be assigned based on the following criteria:

  • House is often slower (120 to 130 BPM ),
  • House usually has a rhythm with dotted sixteenths (based on funk ),
  • It is also characterized by the use of traditional instruments or their samples .

Styles with complex rhythmic patterns

If you take the term a little wider, the entirety of danceable music with a pronounced electronic character, which has been created since the 1990s, can not be equated but classified as techno. This also includes styles with irregular rhythms and rhythm experiments and in some cases also genres that can be ascribed to the area of chill out . The origins of these genres are similar in various respects, and for the most part ran parallel and independently of the development of the actual techno scene . It does happen, however, that some producers work across the entire spectrum of electronic music (e.g. CJ Bolland and Cristian Vogel ) or that different styles are represented at corresponding events and thus blur boundaries. On the contrary, musicians from different directions often use technotypical elements.

In this case, the following types of overlap result:

Notes on the term

In the early 1990s, the music was often called Tekno , Tekkno or Tekkkno . Regardless of this, "Tekno" appeared with just a K in track and compilation titles such as "Tekno Talk" by Moskwa TV (1985), "Tekno la Droga" by Negrosex (1991) or in the US electronic compilation "Metro Tekno" (1992). A similar variant emerged shortly afterwards with the emergence of the Freetekno scene.

Techno culture and techno scene

A broad youth movement was formed in the 1990s around techno and related genres such as house . Associated with it were not only its own ways of dressing ( clubwear ) and a certain direction in design and decoration, but also its own philosophy, which was based on the principles of peace and tolerance, sexual freedom and hedonism - which became known as the short form the slogan Love, Peace and Unity . It also developed its own artistic forms apart from music, which are referred to as techno art .

Towards the mid-1990s, however, parallel scenes emerged within techno culture that had little to do with these ideals. In many countries, especially house, but increasingly also techno, is more associated with discos for high-income earners than with a youth culture that sees itself as an alternative .

Well-known clubs


  • Friedhelm Böpple, Ralf Knüfer: Generation XTC - Techno & Ecstasy. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-423-36055-0 .
  • Harm Bremer: Grooveboxes in a techno live act. History - technology - performative strategies. epOs-Music, Osnabrück 2007, ISBN 978-3-923486-80-9
  • Marcel Feige (co-founder of Raveline magazine, editor-in-chief at “Deep”): Deep in Techno. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-89602-328-4 .
  • Denis Mathei: Oh my god - it's techno music! , epOs-Music, Osnabrück 2012, ISBN 978-3-940255-24-2 .
  • Simon Reynolds : Generation Ecstasy - into the world of techno and rave culture. Little Brown, 1998, ISBN 0-316-74111-6 . ( Published in the UK as Energy Flash : Picador, 1998, ISBN 0-330-35056-0 .)
  • Sven Schäfer, Jesper Schäfers, Dirk Waltmann (publisher: Raveline Magazin): Techno-Lexikon. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-89602-142-7 .
  • Anja Schwanhäußer: underground cosmonauts. Ethnography of a Berlin scene. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main / New York 2010, ISBN 978-3-593-39190-8 .
  • Dan Sicko: Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk. Billboard Books, New York 1999, ISBN 0-8230-8428-0 .
  • Barbara Volkwein: What's Techno. epOs-Music, Osnabrück 2003, ISBN 3-923486-42-1 .

Films (selection)

Web links

Portal: Techno  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Techno
Wiktionary: Techno  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Techno  - collection of images, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Techno  - in the news

Individual evidence

  1. Wendy Blatt: The Morning After , SPIN Musikmagazin, page 47, New York, February 1992
    “Techno House […] achieved massive commercial success without losing contact to the underground. Derived from club music with all the heart and soul removed, Techno is cold, hard, uncompromising street music, mechanically precise and with bass that vibrates your bones. "
  2. Jerome Beck, Marsha Rosenbaum: Pursuit of Ecstasy: The MDMA Experience , page 54, State University of New York Press, 1994, ISBN 0-7914-1818-9
    "The centerpiece of the Rave experience is a style of music called" Techno House ", the latest link in a never ending evolution of dance music ...".
  3. ^ Robert Klanten , Elsa for Toys: Localizer 1.0: The Techno House Book , Die Gestalten Verlag & Chromapark eV, 1994, ISBN 3-9311-2600-5
  4. a b Jürgen Laarmann : The History of Techno , Booklet for the CD Compilation, page 3, 1996
    “Techno has always meant something different in different places at different times. The term originally appeared in connection with power plant. Techno as music made with the latest technological machines: computer music, electronic music. After that, techno stood for what we now call industrial or electronic body music, later for a new sound from Detroit. When we talk about techno today, we primarily mean “Technohouse”, the fusion of American house beats with European industrial sounds that have hit parties around the world since the early 1990s and created a movement that continues to do so before became the most important 'move' at the end of the millennium. "
  5. TOPteam Magazin: Operation Techno , Issue 1, page 14, 1996
    “If you look for the 'prototype' of this direction, you have to turn the wheel of time back further than many think. Because the ground was already prepared in the 1970s by groups such as DAF, Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. German electronic music gradually mixed with Belgian electronic body music, American house and English acid. "
  6. Channel Vicious Pink [1] on Youtube
  7. Music lessons with Jens Lissat (0:48 min.): Music lessons with Jens Lissat & Talla 2XLC (Part 2). March 10, 2019, accessed May 5, 2019 .
  8. ^ Sue Fink: Hot Wire. Technopop & Women's music , Issue 1, page 14, Chicago, November 1985
    “Artists as diverse as the Thompson Twins, [...] Eurythmics, and Laurie Anderson are all dabbling in the Techno world. It's music that is heavily synthesizer-based. Synthesizers crept in as frosting on the cake in the 1970s. In pop music, they are to the 80's what guitars were to the 60's. Synthesizers are now the center of arrangements. "
  9. ^ New Statesman & Society Publishing Company Limited, page 49, 1988
    "Techno music breaks with previous forms of black music by turning to Europe for inspiration. British groups like New Order, The Art of Noise and Cabaret Voltaire, and European synthesizer groups like Kraftwerk and Yello are the Motown sound was built on ... "
  10. Simon Reynolds, SPIN Music Magazine, page 78, July 1991
  11. ^ Albert Kuhn: Juan Atkins , In: Techno , page 39, 1999, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH, ISBN 3-499-60817-0
  12. Ralf Niemczyk: Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit , SPEX Music Magazine, pp. 40, 8/88, Aug. 1988
  13. Andreas Hartmann: Die united ravers of America ,, June 18, 2014, accessed on November 1, 2016
  14. Rhian Jones: EDM: What's the problem? Where is Electronic Dance Music headed? ,, accessed November 1, 2016
  15. Mona Ruzicka: Oliver Koletzki: "Electronic dance music is not about music" ,, August 9, 2015, accessed on November 1, 2016
  16. David Garber: Ben Klock: “I'm not a techno purist” , Thump / VICE , October 21, 2015, accessed on November 1, 2016
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 29, 2006 .