FFO: Detroit Techno, Kraftwerk, Basic Channel

You’d be forgiven for thinking techno originated from the heart of Europe’s club culture, but you’d be wrong.

If you trace techno back to it’s roots you’ll find that the pioneer was a Detroit-born musician named Juan Atkins, aided by collaborators Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. The trio met in the late 80s when Atkins moved to rural Belleville, Michigan. They were among the few black students at their school and would later be known as the ‘Belleville Three’ aka the originators of techno.

Atkins named techno after a section in Alvin Toffler’s book ‘‘The Third Wave,’’ called ‘‘The Techno-­Rebels.’’ Toffler was describing what we might now refer to as hackers — those who refused to limit their uses of machines to the intentions of their manufacturers.

That set the MO for Detroit Techno; it was about manipulating inhuman machines such as synthesisers and sequencers in order to find a voice. Much of the sound was based on Roland’s TR-808, a drum machine that was created by founder Ikutaro Kakehashi in 1980. The 808 was valued for it’s powerful low frequency bass and futuristic drum kit sounds, which was used to create the genre’s four-to-the-floor beats.

Naturally, Detroit Techno spread overseas and European DJs started to put their own spin on the sound. British DJ Paul Hazel release Test Pattern on Rotation Records in 1994 which earned him the title of The Future of British Techno from Melody Maker. After taking a twenty year sabbatical from the music industry, the legendary DJ has returned this year with a redux of the original track and so Detroit Techno lives on!

Paul Hazel will launch ‘Test Pattern Redux’ at Swansea International Festival Fringe on October 5.





Roland TR-808


‘electronic poetry’

mid-late 1980s

Motor City


R&S, Transmat and Eclipse