Techno music has been around longer than you might think. If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re interested in learning more about the genre and its origins.
If you’re completely new to techno music, it can be difficult to figure out what kind of techno you want to listen to. There are some common characteristics of the techno genre that might seem contradictory at first. You might be wondering how one techno song is under the same genre as another because of how different they might sound.
Because of this, techno music is a very diverse genre. Consider this article your definitive guide to the techno music genre.
So What Actually is Techno Music?
If you want to learn more about the techno genre, the first thing you need to know is the actual definition. Simply put, techno is a subgenre of electronic dance music (EDM) that generally is dominated by a repetitive four on the floor beat.
Because it is a subgenre of EDM, techno is characterized by electronic instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines, digital audio workstations, and sequencers.
History of Techno
The genre got its start in Germany during the 1980s. After house music saw its popularity skyrocket in Europe during the early 1980s, techno was later embraced by other countries such as Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
During the 1990s, the genre began to become more stylistically distinct. This led to the genre being dubbed techno. Due to the emergence of the rave and club culture scenes in Europe, its popularity only expanded.
During this time in America, though, techno was still relatively unpopular despite thriving scenes in cities like Detroit, Chicago, and New York City. The techno genre in America developed with elements of electro, synth pop, and house music.
Some of the early influential techno artists are:
- The Belleville Three
- Eddie Fowlkes
- Blake Baxter
- James Pennington
- Depeche Mode
- Yellow Magic Orchestra
- Giorgio Moroder
These and even more artists set the stage for some of our favorite techno artists, albums, and songs. Moving forward, as techno started to become more popular in America and worldwide, these influences would become more and more ubiquitous in popular music.
Techno has come a long way since its early days in Germany, having been swept up by American culture and thus, influencing music worldwide. Plenty of subgenres have broken off from techno, and we hear a lot of influence from techno artists in popular music today.
A playlist for a nightclub today might have breakbeat hardcore music, EDM, and dubstep all in one set. Some of the subgenres include Detroit techno, minimal techno, ambient techno, and tech house.
Techno artists have achieved a lot of commercial success. One of the most well known techno groups today, Daft Punk, even won Album of the Year and Record of the Year at the 2014 Grammys.
Some of the other techno artists that are active today are:
- Aphex Twin
- Carl Cox
- Amelie Lens
- The Prodigy
- David Guetta
- Ellen Allien
- Jeff Mills
- Nina Kraviz
- Charlotte de Witte
These are only the top layer of the many successful techno artists, all with their own unique spin on the techno genre.
Characteristics and Qualities of Techno Music
So now that you know how techno music got its start, it’s time to take a look at the different qualities and characteristics of the genre.
Of course, as we said before, the genre’s origins were heavily influenced by electronic dance music. Other influences included post-disco, synth pop, industrial, and house music.
Techno, like EDM, is characterized by the use of synthesizers and electronic instruments. Even today, many techno producers prefer to use vintage synths.
The most prominent aspect of techno music is that it generally has repetitive, danceable beats. The majority of techno music is in 4/4 time, played at temps from 120 bpm (beats per minute) to 150bpm.
Drum and bass lines tend to loop over and over while synthesizers, melodies, and samples are played over them. Live techno sets by DJs tend to be more improvisational.
Newest Techno Songs
So now that you understand the history, purpose, and sound of techno music, here are some tracks released in 2021 by techno artists.
Insomnia (Epic Mix) by Faithless, Maceo Plex
Maceo Plex decided to revive Faithless’s 90’s hit with dark synth this past June. This version of the song leaves the original spoken word and breakdown intact while giving the track a deeper, darker sound.
Motor City by Marco Bailey
Released as track number two on Marco Bailey’s EP, Fat Rhythm, “Motor City” is ambitious. With a sound that expands further with each listen, this song is great to dance your heart out to.
She Dances Alone by Regal
This song was released as a single for the Madrid-based artist’s debut album Remember Why You Started. As such, it doesn’t disappoint in delivering earth-shattering techno with enchanting trance melodies and acid undercurrents.
These are just a few of the many great techno songs that have been released this year. The artists you tend to listen to, as with any genre, depend on your personal taste. You might like more dark synth or lighter trance-like songs or a little bit of both.
Techno Music Artist on the Rise
If you’re interested in techno music, try out DJ Lady Tazz’s new EP, “Beautiful but Evil” for an immersive listening experience that will make you want to move your feet.
DJ Tazz is a Canadian-born techno artist who plays with the light and dark aspects of the genre. Her music uses dark hypnotic synths with clear-cut beats with spikes of acid that resonate. It roams in a void on the spectrum of techno music, pulling from enigmatic and recreative aspects of the genre, blending them together.
So begin your techno journey (or continue it) by checking out Lady Tazz’s website and her new songs, “Dark Places” and “Beautiful but Evil.” There are so many surprising and sensational musical experiences ahead of you.