Best techno songs member: The KLF- The White Room.
Before Scooter, and before real mainstream techno/ dance, The KLF were the pioneers. Top lists must have a KLF song present. They were the leaders, they showed you how it is supposed to be done with little kit and a sampler. Their techno/ dance is still used today, it is timeless it really is, and spookily the songs have aged very little.
Out of the eight tracks on offer all are pretty cool, but the best techno songs on offer are classics like 3am Eternal, What Time is Love and Last Train to Trancentral are perfect examples. Last Train and What Time is Love are the best- without a shadow of a doubt. What Time is pure techno class. I don't know how many times I have replayed the part when the whole song stops and a perfect juddery base line with kick drum plays, then a skippy loop comes in (about mid to last quarter through the song)- and its only 20 seconds long!
This is like picking up your first car, or your first book, this is how techno was made- this is what we should be learning- pioneering stuff. Highly sellable, coupled with an enormous amount of hooks and large public satisfaction.
KLF- Last Train To Trancentral:
Best techno songs member: Leftfield- Leftism.
Leftfield produce techno songs that are very listenable and very wide-ranging. They are similar to Moby, in that they are advert material- those car ads that you see, or an ad will probably have Leftfield music playing over it. Even my parents and my wife like Leftfield- truly accessible music.
Covering "out there" sounds, originality, and being hugely addictive made Leftfield hot property. There are 12 songs, and most are really cool. Four tracks stand out further than the rest. They are:
Afro-Left shows off incredible originality and huge talent that gives the song major lastability- incorporating an African tribal leader chant (going into robotic), ethnic instruments coupled with modern day 303s and stomping beats.
Song of Life (my favourite song) has my favourite: the strings, a great basic 303 loop, and a slow beat that goes into stomping territory later on in the song.
If you want pure stomper action Space Shanty is a killer- you know it is building up to something- and it does. To a great beat with a great phased keyboard riff- then with that combo they layer and add until the song is over.
Leftfield- Space Shanty.
Storm 3000 is just a techno song, with a great beat (that becomes much better at the end with an added loop which is such a shame), some cool keyboard sounds, and a filtered lead. It is unconventional, a lead? Within a techno song? Yep, and it sounds good- and I have heard it on sports TV as well, so it is commercial. Unfortunately you don't hear the great synth sounds at the start again- which is a real shame.
Leftfield- Storm 3000.
Best techno songs member: Moby- Play, and Everything Is Wrong (DJ Mix Album)
Moby- he has been around for along time now, his first major hit was Go and from then on he has trickled out some songs, then BLAM, Play was released. What an album. Tons and tons of hooks, and due to the popular nature of the compositions (i.e. non offensive beats, warm sounds, euphoria and music with a heart) created a goldmine of an album.
Porcelain is one of the best tracks (even though most are really good), simple, catchy, and loaded with hooks that it is impossible not to like it- I personally like the mid piano and string combo- such class. There is no repetition (that leads to boredom) sounds change (his voice does half way through), and that is good he keeps all the sounds familiar to his audience. This techno song is called intelligent techno, it is polished, bright, and clever.
Special mention has to go to Rushing for being a slow moody/ arty piece that is listenable and is definitely not a filler track. Also Machete needs a mention. It gets of to a good start, but it just gets angrier and angrier. The solid, quick, techno instrumental at the end is a great ending to a great song. Everloving is a great techno track that has an acoustic guitar at the start (with Moby humming), then becomes a seriously chilled techno experience- a great piece.
Unfortunately I didn't like Moby's next album- I felt he went away from Play, and his "roots". But again I went through his back catalogue and discovered Everything Is Wrong (DJ Mix Album). The album deserves a huge special mention as he mixes tracks from previous albums and the mixes are fabulous. Loads of 303 squelches and they are really basic loops that become filtered- its just so cool. This is pure techno. The best techno songs on the album are: Hymn is just a great song- the track at the end when the Juno lead (it sounds like one) that plays throughout becomes phased and filtered is just awesome. Feeling So Real is just a techno hit, full stop.
Due to that it is a mix album, Everything Is Wrong is a continuous play, and how Moby jumps from song to song is good education, he uses different techniques, different sounds and mixes each song well.
Best techno songs member: Way Out West- Way Out West..
Not a well know group, how ever that is a huge pity. They have made some of the most diverse, listenable, funky, and evolving techno out there. Their 10 song album is long, with songs averaging 6 minutes. But it is proper "driving music".
With each song you get used to a part, then it flips to something else, then something else again. Always keeping your attention. The best techno songs are:
Domination- is a great techno song- a real floor filler that you have to listen to a couple of times because of the amount of hooks that were missed! It gives you one hook then layers many more on top of that one, and it just becomes a full techno hook get together. Half way through the song actually slows down, stops, and then comes back kicking and screaming at you (this song is eight minutes, and it just keeps on building up). I do think you get the song's chorus at about 6 minutes, then it is over within a minute. The main thing though- it never gets boring- there is so much going on that you can not get bored, the problem I have is constantly rewinding and forwarding to great parts that I can be on one track for ages just rewinding.
Way Out West- Domination.
Sequoia is another 8 minute monster, with skippy drum loops, and some great chords. I would say this is my favourite song and is one of the more "intelligent" best techno songs out there. It's mainly because after a big build up the strings comes in and you think, great good song, then some great hard techno kicks in, and its like "yeah, I like". The hard techno part has some great samples, all electronic, and it is so well built that it incorporates some of the beginning (only the good parts- they seem to know), and you know that you have listened to a good song.
Way Out West- Mindcircus.
Way Out West- The Gift.
Best techno songs member: Kraftwek- Das Modell..
A group which started it all off. Their music is synth, but if you listen to it, especially their other tracks they use samples as well. remember that this was late 70s early 80s. Their music is simplistic, but I feel that the music is so listenable, even now. They were pioneers and the music you listen to know is directed back at them.
Why is the song in German? Well some cases songs actually sound better in languages that they were originally written for and don't sound right if converted, also the music is written around the lyrics. So when you see Abbamania going on tour very successfully, they change the lyrics and slightly the music to tailor to languages. 30 so far.
Best techno songs member: Wipeout- The Music.
Admittedly it is not an artist, and yes, some of the other songs mentioned above are on this album, but there is one track on it that makes up for everything and ranks as one of my best techno songs. The Hardfloor mix of New Orders Blue Monday.
New Order- Blue Monday (Hardfloor Mix)(short version)
What a brilliant remix of a great initial song. Undeniably my favourite mix of all time, and hence why it is in the best techno songs list. This is the true definition of a mix. Get a great initial track + Add your own signature = an enhanced, better track.
The middle section is by far the major hook. A brilliant 303 driven filter happy piece that just needs to be turned up and to blow those sub woofers. However, the hook through out the whole track is the 303, it acts as a base line and a main lead.
Orbital's P.E.T.R.O.L is another super techno song from the album. It is a classic build-up track that features some cool samples and loops. The main keyboard riff that kicks in at about 2 minutes is basic, but it carries the song so that everything else can be built up around it.
Generally though all the successful, the best techno songs are simple. Every album/ song mentioned is quite simple when broken down into component parts. Don't scare yourself with anyone of them, pause the songs, and listen carefully to individual sounds and you will notice that they are simple. Well if you think about it THEY HAVE TO BE for you to remember them. Faithless Insomnia- a simple power instrument as a "chorus", Hardfloor's remix of Blue Monday is simple, even the seemingly complicated Way Out West has very simple chords and 4-5 note sample sequences that are layered up to sound musically awesome.
I firmly believe that if you want to try certain types of techno you should see that anything can be possible, but it is an idea to research before hand, to look up various techno songs, and to see how they are composed. To go against the grain is taking a very big risk and is rarely successful, but to make improvements on certain styles will put you in good stead, as you are already building upon a top techno song style that has already been successful. What has happened over techno time is that these artists mentioned have been influenced and used styles from artists before them, and theis is what you are trying to achieve. Use these artists for inspiration then build upon their foundation.
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