Thursday, 18 February 2010

My Life in Techno

In 1991 someone gave me the Prodigy album. I had previously dismissed them as ‘toy town’ rave and tossed them aside. However as I drove to college one day I fumbled around for some music to listen to and accidentally grabbed said album. With a shrug I popped the cassette into my stereo and everything changed: my inner techno was born.

By 1997 I was so obsessed with techno that with the exception of the odd bit of Pulp or Divine Comedy, I was listening to nothing else. My weekends were spent throwing shapes on some sweaty, nitrate filled dance floor, and while other girl’s consoled themselves after a bad break up with a box of chocolates and a rom-com, I would go out and buy myself a Detroit Techno box set. Myself and my similar techno-obsessed girlfriend even earned ourselves the title of Techno Witches (not original meant as a compliment but none-the-less we took it as one).

It took me about ten years to come out of my techno coma. It started with a bit of tech-house, which gradually developed into deep French house. Before I knew it I was horrifying myself by buying folk music! What had become of the techno queen?

As I make my inevitable trudge towards middle age my techno days seem well behind me. However I still get a little twinge when I hear people say ‘I can’t stand techno’. I find it particularly strange when people into metal or punk say it as there are so many similar elements. After all, many of the old techno DJs were ex-punks.

I’m convinced these people don’t really hate techno, they just haven’t been listening to the right stuff. Therefore I have created a special techno compilation and urge any techno haters to give it a listen before writing off the whole genre.

One of the originals but still one of the best. Although the sounds are quite retro it still holds up as a really solid track.

Joey Beltram: Energy Flash
Energy Flash turned up on an ‘influences’ album by the Super Fury Animals, which I think illustrates the depth of its appeal. Another classic that oozes with amazing sounds.

Underworld: Rez
They were playing Rez as I walked into last year’s Bestival and I remember getting a little tingle run down my spine. Come on, try saying you don’t like techno now. Don’t lie, I know you have your hands in the air!

Dave Clarke: Southside
Now I know you’re going to say this is more house than techno, and admittedly it is one of Dave Clarke’s more gentle moments, but there is still a lot of techno edge to it. Always one of my favourites, and so much fun to mix with that it was a permanent feature in my DJ sets.

Jeff Mills: Bells
The Orbit anthem I’ve grown to love as much as hate. It is an amazing tune but the Morely massives insistence on having it played every Saturday night did get a bit tiring. This version brings a breath of fresh air back to it though. It is strange yet truly wonderful. I love those trombones (and that’s a sentence I never thought I would use in relation to a Jeff Mills track).

DJ Rolando: Jaguar
Underground Resistance in my eyes were the masters of techno. They proved it didn’t have to be fast four-to-the-floor. Techno could have melody and rhythm too. I want to cry every time I hear this track. Beautiful!

Felix Da Housecat: Cosmic Pop
This isn’t really techno admittedly, but if we have Detroit it only seemed fair to have Chicago too. Probably one of my favourite Chicago producers was Green Velvet but I couldn’t find any MP3s of his stuff. And beside Felxi Da Housecat is bags of fun and is more than deserving in taking the final song any anyone’s techno set.

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