We love a good read and seeing as you’re here, you probably do too. The stories and experiences weaved into music-oriented literature can make for some of the most inspiring and fulfilling reads and there isn’t a genre this applies to more than techno. But while the techno imprint can be found in the most obscure of places today, few truly know much of its vibrant history. To the extent that there are likely many self-proclaimed fans of the genre that aren’t aware that it’s roots are found in Detroit’s underprivileged African-American community, and not some cosmopolitan city in Europe. Not to worry though. There’s some fantastic literature out there that can help in getting to know your Baxter from your B12 and your Tresor from your Transmat.
Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk
1999 (revised in 2010)
Written by one of techno’s earliest propagators, this is pretty much the holy grail when it comes to the oft confused and misunderstood genre. Originally published in 1999, the updated version goes into some serious detail on how techno slowly gestated from the Detroit underground during the early 1980s to becoming a global phenomenon. You can tell the late Sicko’s blood, sweat and tears went into piecing together this definitive dissection of the genre’s lineage; providing unique insight by way of interviews and firsthand anecdotes from various luminaries.
Der Klang Der Familie
Felix Denk and Sven von Thülen
The reunification of Berlin marked a significant moment in defining the city’s musical landscape for the following quarter century. Well it seems too convenient (if that’s the right way to look at it) that the explosion of techno came at a time when an abundance of abandoned, semi-dilapidated spaces became available across the city. Apparently it was “pure coincidence”, but released last year, Der Klang Der Familie examines the connection between the city’s then burgeoning party scene and the collapse of the Berlin Wall in ’89, the relationship with Detroit and a whole lot more.
Lost and Sound: Berlin, Techno and the Easyjetset
Originally printed in German, Lost and Sound… sees Tobias Rapp attempt to understand why Berlin has become such an important hub for a genre conceived over four-thousand miles away. Built around his own firsthand accounts – from moving to the city shortly after the reunification to popping his Berghain cherry – and interviews with various key players, Der Spiegel’s pop culture editor manages to capture the punk and DIY ethos of Berlin’s techno culture in word form. Sadly, the English version (translated and published by Dixon and Âme’s Innervisions label) is no longer in print, so copies are hard to come by. You can at least read an excerpt (detailing that first Berghain experience) here.