The essential music movement of techno has a notable history that takes its roots in Detroit c.1980. These were the sounds of synth-pop and disco that came together, merging into funky and jumpy tracks. Now, the genre and its story will become part of an exhibition at ICA.
In the middle of the economic decline, techno was Detroit’s best export product. It has emerged years after Motown and as the music legacy was fading, there was a place for a revolution. At iconic spots such as The 20 Grand, Lafayette Orleans or Boogie Down Lounge, parties attracted 2000 guests a night, generating its own legends. One of them was Ken Collier, a famous gay disco DJ, master of house who bluntly boycotted funk that got him plenty of adversaries. As the heart of Detroit was beating funk for many years in the past, city’s musical genius was to combine all the influences. Soon, names like Kevin Dysard, Juan Atkins, Blake Baxter or Ray Berry followed, drifting on the second wave of DJs who arrived in town. It wasn’t long until techno took over Europe.
To navigate the history of this enigmatic genre, see Detroit: Techno City at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, running from July, 27th. Listen to one of the early techno tracks from Detroit below.