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Top 5 Old Time Techno Labels

Martin takes a look at 5 techno labels you'll never forget.

The internet came from the depths of technological innovation and, almost without warning, decimated a once thriving industry. Like lambs to the slaughter many imprints fell as the free music revolution took hold, and balance sheets took a collective nosedive.

Some organisations embraced the new challenge as a fresh opportunity though. Not content to go quietly into the night these labels weathered the ferocious storm, re-invented themselves or improved on the modus as was, and have re-emerged as titans of their respective scenes.

With that in mind we thought it only appropriate to pay our respects to a few of the techno outfits that used to cut black plastic when black plastic was pretty much the only option for DJs, and have stayed with us to this day. Individually they are serious purveyors of innovative sounds, from straight up dancefloor fare to what the fuck was that style stuff, collectively making for a tour de force. It's proof that with age often comes finesse, so let's get the introductions underway.


Starting life an often trance-edged prog label as the nineties prepared for the millennium John Digweed and Nick Muir's world famous imprint was high on the list of possible casualties when the fall of said genre began. That they're still here, ten years on, crafting relevant, deep and building darkroom tech sounds is nothing short of impressive.

R&S Records

Aphex Twin, Ken Ishii, Jaydee, Model 500, Radio Slave, Optimo, Steve Lawler, Delphic, Psycatron, Joey Beltram, James Blake, Blawan, Untold, Space Dimension Controller, The Future Sound of London, Jam & Spoon, Dave Angel, Lemon D, CJ Bolland, Golden Girls, Kenny Larkin… Er, do we really need to say any more?


Some accuse Richie Hawtin's dominant imprint of going too far past the limits of the underground, and the minimal sound itself nearly committed hari-kari a couple of years back thanks to over saturation. Irrespective M_nus is home to some of the most cutting-edge and essential techno ever made, and should always be recognised as such.

Novamute / Mute

This may be considered cheating, but no list of essential techno imprints that have survived time's trials and tribulations is complete without Mute. The Nova arm is no more, but the parent label still puts out quality electronic sounds, and the shared back catalogue boasts Speedy J, Plastikman, Luke Slater, Christian Vogel, Miss Kittin and Si Begg.

Underground Resistance

A militaristic brainchild conceived by some of the finest from Detroit's second wave crop (AKA Robert Hood, Jeff Mills and Mike Banks), UR is the epitome of uncompromising. Some of those names may not be as involved these days, and releases are nothing short of sporadic, but there's no denying the organisation remains as influential.

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