Friday, 6 November 2009

High Tech Soul

Here's another reason why the internet is so great, I'm interested in Detroit techno and if you know anything about this kind of music, then you know there's a whole load of mystique built around it. But, a quick search on Google and I am watching a documentary about it. Here it is.

Detroit techno is not only the story of a particular blend of dance music, but it's also about the fabric of the city itself. The 'motorcity' at one point was home to four million, but the population has since dropped to a quarter of that - partly because of the collapse of the American motor industry and the GI Bill, which encouraged soldiers returning from the war to settle with their families in the suburbs. The city become home to a mostly black blue collar workforce for Ford and General Motors. These people would tell their kids about working with robots on the assembly line. Robots, comic books, a city that looked like the background of a science fiction film, it was all grist to the mill for some growing up in Detroit.

In their teens, Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson independently find local music shops flooded with analogue synths, TR909 and 808 drum machines – instruments rejected by most regular musicians for sounding 'too artificial'. And after listening to Kraftwerk (also from an equally industrial city: Düsseldorf), some soul, gospel, George Clinton and the local radio DJ, The Electrifying Mojo, they make the leap to create their own spiritual uplifting 'high tech soul'.