A good techno album, much like a good man or woman, is hard to find.
That it’s difficult to translate dance music into the realm of the full-length is undeniable, but the truth is that techno isn’t like most dance music. To paraphrase Derrick May, the beats are an afterthought. Techno is head music as much as body music, and for the right producer, the space and time afforded by an LP’s runtime provide an opportunity to go deeper, further and perhaps even harder with their sound.
So of course good techno albums do exist – indeed, some of them are very well-known. What follows is a list of great techno albums that are a little less well-known: a handful of them are genuinely obscure; some of them were once widely celebrated but have since fallen out of fashion and into charity shop neglect; others feel more relevant now than they did upon first release. The list isn’t intended to be definitive – on the contrary, a part two is already being planned. It’s simply a list of 15 recommended albums that you might not have heard.
I’ve focussed on what I think we can all agree was the golden age of techno – the 1990s – but a couple of post-millennial entries have made the cut. Stylistically we run the gamut from trippy near-IDM through to pounding industrial techno, with breakbeats and dubwize bass making occasional guest appearances. Oh, and the cover art is uniformly terrible. So, without further ado…
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