Techno is a form of electronic dance music (EDM) that emerged in Detroit, Michigan (USA) in the mid to late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a genre of music, was in 1988. Many styles of techno now exist, but Detroit techno is seen as the foundation upon which a number of subgenres have been built.
The initial take on techno arose from the melding of European electronic music by artists such as Kraftwerk with African American music including funk, electro, Chicago house and electric jazz. Added to this is the influence of futuristic and fictional themes that are relevant to life in American late capitalist society—particularly the book The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler. Pioneering producer Juan Atkins cites Toffler’s phrase “techno rebels” as inspiring him to use the word techno to describe the musical style he helped to create. This unique blend of influences aligns techno with the aesthetic referred to as afrofuturism. To producers such as Derrick May, the transference of spirit from the body to the machine is often a central preoccupation; essentially an expression of technological spirituality. In this manner: “techno dance music defeats what Adorno saw as the alienating effect of mechanisation on the modern consciousness”.
Music journalists and fans of techno are generally selective in their use of the term; so a clear distinction can be made between sometimes related but often qualitatively different styles, such as tech house and trance. “Techno” is also commonly confused with generalized descriptors, such as electronic music and dance music.
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