When people think of EDM, they often think of the classic techno genre. Techno became popular in the U.S. sometime in the 1980s but grew to other parts of the world in the 1990s. The genre came about from the African-American youths in Detroit, which later made the European rave seen a major influence in Detroit. In the next decades, Techno became a mega-hit throughout the world.
Techno is characterized as having a synthetic sound and four-to-the-floor beat. This genre ranges between 130-140 bpm, kick on every beat, claps not always on 2 and 4, focus on percussion and bass, and use of a 909 drum machine, namely kick and hats. All of the different elements that go into making Techno is what makes these tracks cohesive with the omission of a song structure. While listening to a techno playlist, it can be easy for it to appear seamless. This is one of the reasons for its popularity—it keeps the party bumping.
Even though techno is a genre of EDM, it has split into several subgenres. All of them have unique differences from one another. These different vibes are important to note as they can appeal to different listeners.
Even after the huge explosion of techno, Detroit’s influence on the genre of EDM was there to stay. As techno expanded and evolved, Detroit techno became its subgenre. According to AllMusic, Detroit Techno has a dark, detached, mechanistic, and soulful vibe. The original techno movement in Detroit is what led to the subgenre.
Detroit techno has a 4/4 time signature, quarter notes marked by a kick drum, and the use of electronic instrument samplers and synthesizers. Even though Detroit techno might be the more traditional side of techno, it is nostalgic for the OG ravers.
The name might give it away, but minimal techno is the simplest form of the genre of EDM. After techno started to take the scene and get more complex. As technology advanced, some felt that the genre was developing into something more complicated than techno should be. This resistance and call to simplify techno are what created minimal techno.
Minimal techno simplified it down to the pointed drum programs, stark sequencer, and synthesizer patterns. This type of techno plays on the more ambient side of the spectrum by keeping the beat moderate, adding softer elements, and not evoking a more groovy vibe.
On the heavy end of the techno spectrum, hard techno takes the top spot. This subgenre's bass-driven, heavy, and emphasized hat structure gets the party popping. Hard techno is also known as hardcore techno depending on where you are from, but the sound is universal.
This type of techno will be the music bumping the venue from floor to ceiling. Hard techno became popular around the 1990s and continued to run the early rave scene. This style of techno runs 150 bpm or more, has a heavy distortion, and prominent kick drum.
Hard techno is like techno that chugged two energy drinks and decided to full send. This subgenre will be present at many of the raging EDM festivals across the world. The never-ending beats will keep the crowd jumping for hours on end.
One of the notable sub genres of techno is acid techno. Also starting the 1990s, acid techno was closely related to the beginnings of trance music. This is because this entire sub-genre is influenced by the acid sounds from the synthesizers, especially the TB-303. Acid techno is notable for its distortion of sounds and manipulation of controls which creates the unique sound. The heavily distorted groves can attract the more vibey, hypnotic, and edgy side of techno.