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It’s pretty much impossible to condense techno into a shortlist of ten tracks, but for Techno Day we at Smiley HQ are reminiscing. Spanning from its birth in Detroit, to the second wave exported to Europe (most prominently UK, Berlin, Belgium and Netherlands) and through to the changing sounds of minimal, tech-house and deep techno, here we take you through the years of techno with these classics:

Whilst Detroit was declining in the 1980s, techno was rising from the embers, emerging from the sounds of Electro but suffused with the automobile surroundings that defined the city. With this, we kick off this tracklist with Juan Atkins and Richard “3070” Davis Cybotron’s track ‘Clear,’ a melding of Electro with industrial beats to launch this new movement.  It’s an absolute banger, and its loop has often been sampled since. 

Alongside Atkins, Derrick May began carving out a real identity for techno, weaving in hypnotic beats and string-like pads. Here’s the classic that can’t go unmentioned, ‘Strings of Life’:

Closely following May’s sounds, Kevin Saunderson brought techno to the masses, most notably with group Inner City and this tune, ‘Good Life:’

The second wave of techno saw the iconic Jeff Mills step up to the stage showcasing his turntablist skills, and pushing the genre over the pond to the UK and Europe. Here we have ‘The Bells,’ one of Derrick May’s favourite tracks:

Moving into the UK DJs with this banger from Carl Cox, King of Ibiza, and mixing hardcore and breakbeat into his techno, here we have, ‘I Want You:’

Brighton-born Dave Clarke came to musical prominence in the mid 1990’s, and brought with him a unique sound influenced by his self-described “anarchistic streak a mile wide and punk in his soul.” Dark, gritty and hammering on the eardrums as the title suggests, here is ‘The Storm:’

Breaking the boundaries of categorisation, Theo Parrish experimented with live instruments, human voices and looped recordings in his creation of sound sculptures. He arrived on the scene in the late 1990’s and 2000’s and below is the smooth, some might say hip-hop-esque, ‘What U Cry For,’  

Also emerging in the mid 1990’s was Sweden’s Adam Beyer. Founder of Drumcode records, Beyer champions percussive and loop-based techno, often sprinkled with echoing vocal loops that offset the hard beats, and the mesmerising ‘Teach Me’ is no exception:

Partner of Adam Beyer, and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Roger Sanchez, John Dahlbäck and Björk, Ida Engberg started DJing at 14 and brings her own brand of techno to the floors. In this masterful tune, you get the feeling you’re ebbing and flowing – like in a dance – but in an industrial, metallic setting. The balance of the softer vocals, echoing softly in the background lends this track perfectly to its name, ‘Devils Dance.’

Hailing from Germany, the unofficial capital of Techno in Europe, Ben Klock keeps Berlin dancing throughout the weekend. This remix of Martyn’s ‘Is this Insanity?’ will transport you to the dark and concrete space of Berghain:

Aaand here’s a bonus track to our list that we just couldn’t miss off. Founder of label, Innerversions, Dixon weaves soulful, minimal techno into his music. The encore to our techno tour is, ‘No Distance,’ a beautiful track that’s sure to send you into sublimity: