This is my music, part 2: Hypnotic techno from Italy & beyond
Techno—the proper stuff and not the sugar-coated, insultingly tasteless drivel that every now and then seeps into the mainstream—is a rather faceless type of music, so this post will not have a single hero artist representing the genre. It is utilitarian music, primarily made for DJ’s and to be heard in the context of more techno, carefully selected and mixed to create a coherent aesthetic theme, since tracks seldom come to their full right on their own. It is music to be enjoyed at very loud volume where the impact of the bass becomes a very physical experience. Compared to other electronic music it’s also more abstract with it’s lack of traditional arrangement structures or melodic hooks.
Much like video art where a single moment—beautiful, mysterious, sad, frightening or anywhere in between—is looped over and over, techno likewise is often about that single rhythmic element being given absolute focus and repeated (and perhaps mutated slightly) for the entire length of a track. It’s all about the pattern and texture, not forgetting that repetition, of course, is the mother of hypnosis.
There are many tens of thousands of techno 12″ releases, many with only incredibly subtle nuances to tell them apart but also every imaginable experimental variation on the basic formula. This means that finding the parts of the techno palette that you enjoy can be incredibly tedious as you have to wade through insufferable amounts of drivel and musical ideas that make no sense or, equally common, are downright awful. Adding to that, these days most releases are only pressed in 200-500 copies so the ones that get popular sell at extortion prices after just weeks or even days at worst. The thing to keep in mind is that anything you can imagine probably already exists, and that there are hundreds of records with exactly the sound you’re after: The right drums, the right patterns, the right textures. Knowing this yet getting sick of all the crap each time I tried finding more is what has fed my frustration, but it’s been getting easier lately.
In the last year or two, the techno zeitgeist has thankfully begun to lean towards a sound I really enjoy. This has meant more artists and labels releasing this style, in turn making it easier to find. A lot of this output is from Italy, and this has been highlighted by sites like Resident Advisor (more in this feature on Giorgio Gigli & Obtane). Here’s a bunch of my recent finds as Youtube links, and I also maintain a playlist on Spotify for the stuff available there.
Play these as loud as you’re comfortable with and preferrably all the way through. Make sure you set each video to maximum resolution since the audio improves too. The repetition is part of the point, so if you’re not used to that type of structure just try to sit back and absorb it—hopefully you will “get it” eventually.
Mike Parker – FWD (Donato Dozzy Remix)
Claudio PRC – “Clear Depths” (Obtane Remix)
Shifted – “Out of Tune”
Nax_Acid – Marìlia
Giorgio Gigli | Obtane – “Theory Of Radical Structures” (pictured above, not available on Spotify)
Polar Inertia – Major Axis (
Not Now available on Spotify)