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The Relationship of Techno to the City of Detroit, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 927

Essay

Explain the relationship of techno to the city of Detroit using examples from the reading. to shine a light on how certain historical processes created the music. I recommend you start with either the Ford Model T or the Detroit riots.

The Detroit riots was a product of shifts in technology and racial disparity in Detroit. Ironically that is also what the techno movement was, as the authors note, Detroit was less than 300 miles from Chicago, so during the  80’s Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson would travel to Chicago and pitch their music to radio DJ’s and record executives. The authors note that, “these three producers were constructing a new electronic vision of what dance music could be, a pure modernist style of synthesized soul that would take the name techno” (Brewster & Broughton, 318). These were black DJ’s who were living in the industrial deprives city of Detroit that was gradually dwindling due to not adapting to the technological era.

The author notes that because the city of Detroit had less velocity and momentum than New York and Chicago, techno was actually not viewed as a musical movement, but just house music played by people of Detroit. They also point out that the name Techno was an invention of the Detroit DJ’s and they recreated it as it grew in popularity, by retroactively writing it’s history. The authors note that, “Voila! Techno was born, With its new name, not only was it now a distinct musical form, but it had an enticing philosophy behind it, nearly connecting the city to its sound. The journalists laid the postindustrial imagery on thick and the producers saw that intellectualizing their music would help them promote it” (Brewster & Broughton, 330). This moment marks the invention of Techno in Detroit, formally as far is was represented in the media and the eyes of the public, but it had been brewing long before it was named.

How did the “waves” differ (or go in-depth on one “wave” if you’d like)?

The concept of waves are mentioned There were numerous waves of sounds that emerged related to techno, and disco and house. In regards to disco the authors note that it developed in Philadelphia and the first wave of disco was characteristically black, but the second wave was European. They say, Eurodisco heralded a second wave which signaled a departure from the genre’s original black idioms (Brewster & Broughton 193). Another wave mentioned is the shock wave of acid house which the authors claim Mancuso one of the forefathers of disco created. The authors talk about how his experience involved in the “60’s acid movement would lead to it influencing his music. They say, shock waves of acid house twenty years later” (71).  Another wave the authors mention is the wave that shifts Disco into HiHop The waves even rippled out as far as Brooklyn, the Bronx and Harlem, where mobile disco DJs like Ron Plumber, Grandmaster Flowers, Maboya and Pete DJ Jones would put their own spin on the music and help give birth to hip hop (Brewster & Broughton, 156).

How does Berlin fit into the Detroit narrative?

Berlin adopts techno from Detroit more than any area in the world. They take the Detroit techno sound and add more expensive production behind it to distribute it globally. This has a dramatic affect on the reach of the music. This is also the reason why many of the DJ’s who created the Detroit sound don’t see nearly the same financial benefit as those who sample their music.

And, most importantly, how is techno distinct from the electronic music of New York and Chicago?

Techno is different from the electronic music of Chicago and New York, because it is distinctively a Detroit creation. The authors state that, “dance music is usually explored in terms of club cultures and collective styles; techno is more often discussed with reference to the genius of individual producers and with lengthy critiques of individual records” (Brewster & Boughton, 319). They go on to point out that techno’s history was actually recreated by its innovators

Explain the history of Detroit techno as a form of musical expression. Who were the key players?
In the Documentary, “Universal Techno,” Jaun Atkin, one of the three forefathers of techno music, describes his home town of Detroit as a depressed post industrial city suffering from the technological revolution. He talks about how the sociological and economic climate of Detroit is what created and developed the techno sound. He says that when you go downtown the largest shopping store in the town is boarded up, but that it lends to the creative juices of the town. Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, and Juan Atkins are the Detroit DJs mentioned as the creators of techno. They note that people all over the world sample Detroit Techno, but the Detroit DJs don’t benefit from it financially.  Juan Atkins is interviewed. He says he started recording totally electronic records in 1979. They interview Derrick May and he refers to Detroit as techno city. All three men demonstrate the pure creativity they get from techno music. They talk about the city of Detroit and late night radio DJ named Mojo who used to play very unique and original techno beats late at night, and they talk about how this music inspired many Detroit youth.

Work Cited

Brewster, Bill, and Frank Broughton. Last Night a Dj Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey. New York: Grove, 2000.

Universal Techno (30min) – 1990’s Documentary! Detroit – Berlin – Tokyo – L. Dir. Jonathan FLemming. Lefterisiam, 2011.

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