The Underground Roots of Techno

Culture is what remains from the past and the bridge that holds the present’s end to the future. It’s what remains from our thoughts and actions, a reminder of our existence and our heritage. 

Music played a major part as the temporal vessel in which runs our stories of joy and agony. Whether it was used to celebrate or morn, music was there as a witness. It holds its own evolution that was fuelled by the existing means and it adapts to the elements of life. 

Techno is one of the modern forms of this art. 

Born from the sonic ashes of the previous industrial revolution, it expressed both a futuristic vision and the actual state of the world. Just like an Orwell novel, the musical identity of this movement was inspired by reality to unveil both utopian and distopian pictures in a beautiful way. 

The fact that Berlin and Detroit are the major pillars of this art proves this vision well. 

The first one suffered from a political oppression that led to a cultural and artistic boom when the wall fell down. The chaotic state that followed created an outstanding order that reflected a new mindset. German techno was born in the factories that remained from the second World War as an ironic way to say : « The places that used to enslave us are the ones that helped us break free. » 

Detroit suffered a softer political fate but a similar economic plague. As the former engine of the American industrial power, Motorcity had held the colourful dreams of prosperity and turned into a hell of concrete and steel after the economic crisis of the 50s. With the rise of human rights movements came an opposing force that promoted racism and hate. 

The heat led some artists to claim war using a beautiful yet powerful means : Electronic Music. 

Collectives like Drexciya and Underground Resistance were the heroes with no capes that boosted Techno to be a way of saying no to violence and a means of entertainment in a city that lacked colours. They took the mechanical sound that hunted them in their dreams and made that nightmare into an uplifting power, just like Bruce Wayne did with bats.

Techno was suddenly the gift that was hidden in our historical mistakes and a living proof of our divine ability of altering the dark corners of our reality to create our own heaven on earth.

- Words by Yassine Hammar