Techno developed in the late 1980s and 1990s and is heavily influenced by German electro-pop acts such as Kraftwerk who had a large impact on the genre. Despite this European influence however, it was in the American cities of New York, Chicago and Detroit where techno came to fruition as a significant genre. German bands such as Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, as well as the Italian artist Giorgio Moroder, pioneered the use of synthesisers over repetitive drum and bass parts. In Detroit, DJ Juan Atkins was borrowing from these influences to pioneer the sound of a more futuristic, clean Detroit. By the late 80s, Atkins, along with Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, had formed the Belleville Three. 

They developed the sound of Detroit techno and in 1985 Atkins released one of the primary definitive techno tracks, No UFO’s. This sound became more popular which caught on especially around Europe in the 80s and 90s. Kevin Saunderson’s Big City and Good Life were highly successful around the world and launched techno out of the underground. The techno sound began to be adopted around the world and this spawned various subgenres. Techno can typically be identified by the use of early synthesisers and drum machines such as the Korg SQD1 and Roland TB-303 which will be used to create a repeating bassline and drum pattern, over which a synth melody or sample may be added. The music is also around 120-150 bpm and in a simple 4/4 time signature.

Notable artists:

Juan Atkins

Derrick May

Kevin Saunderson

Carl Craig

John Collins

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