What is techno music

2.1. What is techno music and how does it work?
Techno music and its requirements

When techno music became more popular at the beginning of the 1990s, the democratization effect that it had on making music was often perceived at first. This new music was understood as a polemic against reflective figures that were virulent in the pop area as well, such as "the musicians are good at their instruments" and the like. Craftsmanship was apparently suspended in its function as a precondition for music. It was only too fitting that anyone could simply buy the necessary computer equipment and then get started in the living room.

Most people forgot to add that these devices cost a few thousand marks and that the computers first had to be operated. So there are still socially and economically selective factors that make making music an exclusive matter, albeit a modified one.
Nevertheless, it can be generalized that the path described in the above myth is initially open to everyone and is by no means the most unusual variant of how techno records are made.


What is techno music?

Techno music is made exclusively with computers, often working with patterns of atonality and based almost exclusively on repetitive rhythms. "In techno music, the individual pieces are called tracks and no longer songs: melodies, harmonies and (spoken) song are reduced beyond recognition or completely eliminated. Instead, rhythm and sound are the central elements of techno, mostly in periodic Four-four time can be layered on top of each other in various ways. When working out the tracks, disparate sound sequences are mixed together on computers (sampler, sequencer, synthesizer, rhythm machine) without notation by trial and error. By using sampling technology, it is in principle possible for the techno musician to open each one at some point edit the sound recorded on a sound carrier without noticeable loss of quality. " (NOTE: Christof Meueler, Auf Montage im Techno-Land, in: SPoKK (Hrsg.), Kursbuch Jugendkultur, p. 243)

This sketchy description of the music can be taken as a general grid, the specific design of which differentiates the individual styles, which are summarized under the generic term "techno music", in each case. Of the innumerable techno styles, the most important ones are House, Gabber, Ambient, Drum'n'Bass / Jungle, Goa / Trance, Electro and Techno themselves.


Records and their distribution

The music is primarily available on vinyl records, which are sold for 15-20 DM in specialist shops. The vinyl format is usually the only one that DJs use. The CD format is usually reserved for a few more commercially successful music producers or it is a matter of compilations, i.e. combinations of pieces of music by different artists.
In addition, there are individual attempts to make techno music available on CD-ROM format or on the Internet, but these are avant-garde projects with exceptional status that can be neglected here.

The infrastructure for the production and distribution of the records consists of a broad network of small record companies, so-called labels, which are structured according to local, stylistic and commercial aspects and specialize in the production and distribution of techno music. The fact that techno music appears on a major company (ANM: large multinational corporations such as EMI, Sony, Warner Bros. etc) is still rather an exception.


Who listens to where, how and when do you listen to techno music?

Accordingly, the target group of the released records consists primarily of the DJs. Luke Slater, British techno musician, sums it up: "Techno will always be club music, because techno belongs there. I associate techno with going out, having fun, dancing and having a party." (ANM: DE: BUG. 05: 1197, p. 11) Compared to other youth and subculture-related popular music, it is rather unusual to listen to techno music at home - the number of potential record buyers remains relatively small. As a result, one can hardly make a living with the production of techno music. Even well-known techno musicians reproduce themselves economically primarily through their engagements as DJs at raves or in discos.

So the primary setting within which techno music is heard is the setting of a party. The DJ who plays the records is responsible for the music there. The work of the DJ, the so-called deejaying, consists of mixing (mixing) the records one behind the other. The DJ Westbam describes this as "musical activity (...), which should make the music more exciting (...), in which the aim is to take up and change musical structures, in which there is tension between alien but also similar ones Pieces should be built up and dissolved. Mixing should be a certain togetherness, successive and opposing one another of bars and harmonies and no reduction to beats per minute. " (NB: Westbam, What is mixing about ?, p. 56) For mixing you usually don't need more than two turntables with speed controls (pitches) and a mixer with a cross-fader. This means that any number of pieces can be mixed together.