Despite being one of the pillars of contemporary electronic dance music, techno remains weirdly misunderstood. While some critics have written it off as repetitive and inhuman -- qualities that, sometimes, are kind of the point -- others have mistakenly adopted "techno" as a sweeping term to encompass all dance music. So what is techno? It depends whom you're asking, and when; born in Detroit in the late '80s as a kind of pulsing, post-human soul music, it has since been spun into innumerable configurations as the sound spread and mutated across the globe, from the skeletal pings of Plastikman to the tidal wash of Basic Channel. If house is a feeling, well, so is techno, but at its heart lies the belief that hypnotic, four-to-the-floor rhythms can serve as passages to another dimension. To get you started on your journey, we've put together a mix of stone (well, silicon) classics from some of the genre's key architects, including Juan Atkins, Joey Beltram, Robert Hood, Basic Channel, Ron Trent, Laurent Garnier and more.
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