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Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... Techno

The sound of the island.

Ibiza is known for its dance music the world over, but that is an umbrella term for various different styles. Our series on the genres of music found on the island helps identify the parties, clubs and DJs best suited to your tastes.

This week, we're going to the dark side and talking about... Techno.


Here's what we mean by Techno.

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Techno

Ah, so we've arrived at one of the most controversial genres: Techno.

We'll be honest, Jeff Mills could be playing live on a 909 drum machine at The Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit, and there would still be some dude somewhere on an internet forum posting: "THIS ISN'T TECHNO"

The Wizard: Jeff Mills with one of his toys

That said, it's true that a lot of what's categorised as Techno is mislabelled. And yes, we'll admit that Ibiza is sometimes guilty of this faux pas.

You probably won't find too much pure Techno here. If you're hoping to see Dave Clarke, Rebecca, Surgeon or Speedy J, you might be out of luck. Though very occasionally they do get booked.

The Techno found here is largely filtered through a Balearic lens. It's quite progressive in sound, rarely more than 134 bpm and mixed with lots of Deep and Tech House. It wouldn't be unusual to even hear the odd bit of Trance thrown into the mix.

Dancin' since '99... Cocoon introduced Techno to Ibiza over 20 years ago

To be diplomatic, what we'll say is that when we use the term "Techno", we're talking less about the genre and more about the specific vibe.


Ibiza parties where you will hear Techno in some form:

Joseph Capriati presents Metamorfosi at Amnesia | 22 July, 5 and 19 August
HE. SHE. THEY. at Amnesia | 29 July, 26 August and 9 September
Drumcode at Amnesia | 23 September only
Hybrid at Es Paradis | Sundays
Blackworks at Octan | 12 July only

Also at Amnesia, if past years are anything to go by, Sunday night party Pyramid will programme the main room to Techno, while Jamie Jones has booked Techno DJs like Len Faki, Nicole Moudaber and Alan Fitzpatrick for Paradise on Wednesdays.

When it comes to weekly events, Hï Ibiza's room two, called the Club Room, will definitely be Techno-heavy on Tuesdays (Paco Osuna with The Martinez Brothers in the main room) and Thursdays (Afterlife curated by Tale Of Us, usually with Berlin DJs in this room).

The Club Room on Thursdays features tougher, no-nonsense sounds

You will also get a little bit of Techno (along with mainly Deep and Progressive House, and also heavily dependant on who his guest is) at Solomun +1 at Pacha on Sundays.

Marco Carola is still considered a "Techno DJ" by many, though in truth he has moved far away from that sound the last few years. In any case, all-black-everything is the attire of choice for Music On fanatics on Fridays at Pacha. Again, it's the vibe more than the music policy, per se.

And if that isn't enough to scratch your Techno itch, then check-out the programme at DC10 and, perhaps less obviously, NUI in Ibiza Town.


Techno's background

As House music was making a name for itself in Chicago, across Lake Michigan in Detroit, something else was brewing. Inspired by events across the water, a group of students began playing with synthesisers in their college digs, inadvertently spawning Techno.

Techno advanced the synthetic sound popularised by the likes of Kraftwerk a decade earlier, adding funk and soulful elements to this machine-made music.

Names such as Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Carl Craig, Kenny Dixon Jr (Moodymann), Robert Hood and Stacey Pullen were a part of the first and second wave of Techno artists from the city. Not only are they all still active today, but they also frequently play at parties here on Ibiza.

"The Originator" Juan Atkins records groundbreaking Techno and Electro under a raft of aliases

Unlike House, Techno tends to point towards a higher concept. In the beginning, it was strongly aligned with Afro-Futurism and continues to run parallel with science-fiction in the modern era. It has strong political and anti-establishment tropes, which mean it could only have come from socially-deprived Detroit (or flourished somewhere like Soviet-era East Berlin).

Although Detroit still wields huge influence, nowadays Berlin is globally considered the city of Techno.


But what is Techno?

Generally, Techno shares the same 4/4 beat that House does, so how do the two styles differ?

Arrangement mostly. Swap kick-drums for bass drums and you're almost there. Techno is darker, faster and arguably more refined than House. We come back to the point we made earlier, about attitude.

"House comes from Disco, but Techno is Punk." - Dave Clarke

Typical bpm (beats per minute) range: 120 - 150


Sub-genres

Much like House, trends in Techno have come and gone.

Today, you will find an ever-growing list of sub-genres, some of which bear close-resemblance, others that do not. Tech House (a hybrid of House and Techno) is the most obvious example of this, but there are a few others as well.

Melodic Techno

Melodic Techno is an arpeggiated form of dance music that's very euphoric. The style emerged in the mid 2010s and has been heavily championed by Tale Of Us and their Afterlife label and party series.

Best described as a recipe as opposed to a single ingredient; a set could be described as Melodic Techno, but to label individual tracks as such is a bit disingenuous. Very often Melodic Techno is an atmospheric mix of Techno and Deep House.

Its detractors argue it's just Progressive House under a different name. READ MORE


Minimal

Minimal has waned in popularity in recent years thanks to a desire for faster, more pumping Techno, but for a while it was huge. Championed by Richie Hawtin and his label M-NUS, Minimal is linear in composition, rolling in nature and almost completely absent of "drops".

It has a plinky-plonk sound and features unusual, sometimes disorientating noises. READ MORE


Find our other music guides:

Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... House music
Tech House
- Deep House
- Afro House
Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... Disco
Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... EDM
Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... Reggaeton
Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... Garage


Read more...

This article is part of our Ibiza Virgins' Guides, packed full of information on how to get the most out of your stay on Ibiza. Check them out.

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