‘Kings of Techno’ is the 6th installment in a compilation series that grows more ubiquitous with each release. Over 130,000 albums have been sold in a series that brings together globally renowned DJ ‘s & producers to reveal their favorite tracks in the genre they themselves have become best known for. ‘The Kings of’ albums allow compilers to make choices well beyond the usual restraints imposed on them. Each release features striking artwork from 60’s Rolling Stones photographer & bon viveur extroadinaire Michael Joseph.
Techno has its roots in Detroit, more precisely in the eclectic late radio programs of Charles "The Electrifying Mojo" Johnson which heavily featured early electronic works (Moroder, Kraftwerk…) and funk, giving birth to a new genre in the mind of a fistful of African-American students, ‘The Belleville Three’: Derrick May, Juan Atkins & Kevin Saunderson. Featuring a percussive, synthetic sound and a 4/4 beat, Techno developed from a strictly underground phenomenon to an established, global genre when it came to England and from there the rest of the world.
But this album is not your average ‘Techno’ mix album. How could it be – it features two of Dance Music’s most significant players of the last 15 years.
Laurent Garnier was one of the first Europeans to mix American House and techno music in Britain, earning his crown in the glory days of the Hacienda in the late 80’s. Some tracks of his mix will be immediately recognizable as ‘Techno’, such as the obscure ‘Just a Feeling’ by Instinct - deeply evocative of a 101 lost weekends in the ‘Hac’, as it affectionately became know by regulars - or the phenomenal Utopia by Jeff Mills - a track which best defines the atmospheric soundscapes associated with the genre. But far from being strictly techno, Garnier’s mix is both a testimony to the genre’s main influences and an eclectic tribute to the town that saw its emergence: Detroit. The great beauty of his mix is the layering of the many styles, traveling from Alice Coltrane and Aretha Franklin to The Stooges, from Motown’s Temptations to Slum Village to futuristic hip-hop-anthem-in-the-making Dabrye’s collaboration with Jay Dee on ‘Game over’.
Carl Craig grew up in Detroit; his diverse musical output has gained him fans from a broad range of musical backgrounds. Considered as one of the main figures of the second generation of Detroit techno producers, his extensive DJing all over the world witnessed the development of the genre. In direct contrast to Laurent’s mix, his takes in music that mostly emanated from Europe. Like Laurent’s, some falls easily into the ‘techno’ category: Nitzer Ebb’s industrial bass heavy ‘Join In The Chant’ fits seamlessly with Capricorn’s ‘I Need Love’ from defunct early 90’s trance label ‘Sperm’ Records. Visage and Human League will be remembered for European chart success in the glory days of late 70’s, early 80’s pop music, the former perhaps better known for their hit ‘Fade to Grey’, the latter for their massive ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’. Both had a high voltage current running through their music and significantly these tracks still gain a cheer on today’s dance floor.
So expect the unexpected, once again the meeting of minds in the ‘Kings Of’ series has spawned an informed, genre-defying double CD that’s mixed to perfection, and that takes us on a journey from which we won’t want to, or simply can’t, return.
For more check: www.thekingsofseries.com/kingsoftechno