Techno Research Project

Posted Jan 25 2007

This was a recent project assigned to a high school music class that I teach. It's very Detroit biased, but that's more due to my ignorance and time constraints rather than maliciousness. Students were free to do research on groups, organizations, producers, etc, not on this list and we brain-stormed other ideas. Nonetheless, it was fun to watch students in Oakland, CA download Detroit Jit videos and ask me if I knew "Mad Mike" Bank's e-mail address. BTW, we did lots of prep for this project, including watching videos, breaking down tracks, etc. I teach the lecture portion of the class and the lab (studio) portion is run by my fellow teacher Mr. Castillo, aka DJ Chango'. While researching for this project the students were also responsible for creating their own techno tracks using Garage Band. Advanced students use other software such as Reason. There's some good stuff being created!

Techno Research Paper
There are three parts to this paper. It should be double-spaced and use 12 Point Font
Each section should be at least 1 1/2 pages long

Hints for internet research:
*Be creative in your search and try different word combinations eg)"eighties techno" might work better than "80s techno"
*Something like "techno" might be too broad, be more specific eg)"women in techno" or less specific
*On the other hand, you may be TOO specific eg)"Oakland Techno" will get you less responses than "Bay Area techno"
*When you get a list of websites, the first one may not necessarily be the best

A good website with basic info:

I. An overview of techno.
Trace the development of techno and/or electro from the '80s to the '90s to its current state. Some things to think about: technology, social events/factors that shaped its development, the role of race and gender, the use of technology, popular artists, other genres that influenced techno or grew out of techno. These are suggestions. As you research, you may develop your own ideas. The key is to show how the idea of techno has changed over the decades. In your conclusion be sure to say what's the current state of techno and the possible future. Cite at least two sources.


1. Rob G said at February 1, 2007 3:30 pm:

Domingo- I'm always impressed with this blog/forum. one of the coolest things about techno, or any "underground" music, is this idea that you can make exciting music your own self, and thats way more interesting and sometimes money making then just turning on the big business radio. Maybe you should also have some further focus on some of the new toys that happened in the 80s (Roland 808, 909, 303) that helped techno to happen. Cuz most of these people were just doing their own thing with cheap used equipment, and one day - it all blew up (same story repeated for so many people in the history!) anyway, good luck with the research!!!

2. T said at February 3, 2007 12:05 am:

Awesome idea. You might want to recommend the book "Techno Rebels" by Dan Sicko, that might help them trace the music in it's historical context... -peace, t

3. DC said at February 5, 2007 1:44 am:

TECHNO REBELS IS THE BIBLE FOR REAL. From Skratch (RBMA) and DJ Culture are good books. Last Night a DJ saved my Life is a nice one. I got them all and read them with passion, the last one is not so good in my Opinion. have a nice day peace DC

4. Inertia said at February 8, 2007 10:33 pm:

I thought that Last Night a DJ saved my life is a pretty good introduction to the history of dance music. It is readable and unpretentious, which I think is a good thing. I have notmanaged to read the Dan Sicko book but it is on my list

5. Daniel said at February 10, 2007 4:02 pm:

Yeah, I read "Techno Rebels" when it first came out. I need to reread it though. I thought that "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" was pretty good. As a teacher, something that is similar to DJing is balancing what people want/know, with where I'm trying to take them. There's often a difference between what I listen to at home and what I play in public. If I lose the crowd, then I'm literally playing just for myself and I could've just stayed home. Yet, I want to turn people on to new music. There's that balance...Same with the books, DVDs, etc that I use in class. I have to start with the students' own background. Their exposure to techno has been fairly minimal beyond the mainstream and so many of them are into hip hop, reggaeton, and Latin music that I have to find the connections. It's usually not hard. They're loving this unit. I guess my point is that the best material isn't necessarily the best as an entry point. I gotta say that teaching this class has been an extension of DJing.

6. Hugo Kruysh said at February 13, 2007 10:04 pm:

I've done my paper ( ??? the work you have to give at the end of your studies) at university in the same mind : "an extension of DJing". I do not have many time to do this but i'd like to summarize it and to translate it. I'm really interrested about what you're doing. Is this project only about researching or do you or will you teach them things about techno music ? If you do or you will, could you send me a copy of the lesson you give (if it's possible), i would be pleased to read them. I'd love to find a place like you to teach people about techno but another way than behind decks.. not that i don't like the place behind the decks, but i'm also interrested by the place behind the desk not everybody comes to parties or are in touch with dj's so i think it's the way techno has to go to if it will be spread yet more around the world than it already is, and be understood. Here are some of the books or texts i've read to do my paper, some are talking about music in general more than only about techno but they give an approach that may help to view music another way than the musicological one: - ( all the work of Phillip Tagg is really interresting) - Thornton Sarah, Club cultures. Music, Media and Subcultural Capital, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1995 - Sheperd John, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Vol. I, Media, Industry and Society, London, Continuum, 2003 ; - Sheperd John, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Vol. II, Performance and Production, London, Continuum, 2003 (for definition about musical things and historical overview) - Technoritualités. religiosité rave, (sous la dir. De François Gauthier et Guy Ménard), Montréal, Université du Québec, « Religiologiques » n° 24, 2001 (the titel is in french and the most of the articles are in french (sorry my language ) but there is a text in english about the Carnival in Rio and rave) now that i think about it it may exist in an english version here is the link you have to go in "numeros parus" then the nummer 24 these are abstract in english but i do not know if there is an english version... - Hebdige Dick, Subculture the meaning of style, London, Routeledge, 1979 - , it's "Taz" from Hakim Bey, many theoricians do a parallel between parties in rave or clubs with what Bey call Taz (temporary autonomous zone) These are the english books i read , if someone is interrested by th french one i can also post them.

7. Daniel said at February 19, 2007 12:18 am:

Thanks for all of the info. Yeah, I don't have time to DJ like I used to. If I had stayed in Detroit I'd probably go crazy trying to teach and stay hyper active on the music side. Yet I've found teaching to be quite rewarding, especially when I can do projects such as these. For a link to the lesson, just go above. In terms of what students wrote, there's nothing too amazing as it was basic research that just about everyone here probably knows already. However, one of my students actually interviewed Atlantis and Dex via phone. She was quite excited so I'm going to help her craft an article. Students also shared their techno tracks as part of their final today. There were some good tracks there. FYI, it's not a techno class, but more of a music and social issues one. This particular unit was on techno, the next is on house. We have lots of great projects in the works, including mini radio shows and more traxs. They'll be floating around the internet soon enough. Who knows, the next crop of UR DJs/Producers might be sitting in front of me in 6th period.

8. SkypainteR said at December 16, 2008 4:43 pm:

YO YO WAZZUP my Electronic people Where I can Download da "Techno Rebels" by Dan Sicko, [img][/img] Is A tight book Maybe Some Link-- Peace Out- UR-4-L1F3

9. E said at January 8, 2009 4:40 pm:

I too wrote a research paper on Techno music for my 12th grade English was a pain in the ass. haha. But my love for techno might have been about the only reason why I wrote the paper at all. XD

10. Dinah deSpenza said at November 22, 2010 2:42 pm:

Can some one put me in touch with folks that have written papers on Techno Music as I am a graduate student doing a presentation on Techno Music based on educational writings.

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