Who were the top 80s techno producers and who were the best techno pioneers?
For me the 80s music especially the top 80s techno music was one of the finest times in techno. Styles were being built, the merging of elctronic music and pure techno became apparent and bands were bands. There were few one hit wonders, and most were experimental and new. This forged the path to the music we have now and the classics that were made. I have also included other techno tracks some from the 70s. I feel though that you should be exposed to some exceptional mentions.
The list may seem small, but I only want to give you the best on offer. There are even styles in there that you wouldn't of thought of, but the main thing is that they influenced artists of today. In some of the top 80s techno list I have given the single (the best out of the bunch) and others just the artist (any album will do unless stated). So, without further ado I give the top 80s techno.
The four Germans that really founded electro in the 70s and that groundwork made electronic music/ techno music what it is today. Their styles, arrangements and devices are being used even today and influenced all the below artists (and artists today) in some way or form. Autobahn is their greatest album. It is slightly basic with electronic drum sounds, and speak and spell samples- but it was really revolutionary and has some decent hooks in the tracks. Classic stuff.
Kraftwerk- The Model.
Blondie - Atomic.
Debbie Harry was a genius. This was raw electro. Vocals, synths, guitars and real drum sounds and this track especially sounded great. It even has a small instrumental in the middle. Late 70s early 80s classic.
Visage - Fade to Grey
How cool is this song, spring board for Midge Ure and has some singing from Steve Strange. A really good electronic piece. Sounds very 80s, but basic- proving that a track doesn't have to be all singing and dancing. It has the basic ingredients for a top 80s techno song - even then there was a base drum kicking away to make you dance, synths playing away to build up towards the end, and an easy hook.
Visage- Fade To Grey
Soft Cell - Tainted Love
Can be found playing away on most of the music channels and it is easy to see why. A basic few notes synth and bass sound playing away over a kick drum with Mark Almond chirping away and that 2 clap part that most people will recognise, love and immitate. It also has a cool build up to the chorus. Great top 80s techno!
Softcell- Tainted Love
Art of Noise
Now, there are revolutionaries and there are people who just lead the way. This is Art of Noise, they were the first major group to include samples and to make up tracks using samples. Nowadays commonplace. Their tracks are really good. They have done Peter Gunn, a collaberation with Tom Jones singing Kiss, Dragnet, and Paranoimia. Inventive and very ahead of their time. Great producers and a worthy top 80s techno artist.
Art of Noise- Close (To The Edit)
Master and Servant, Everything Counts...pure 80s top techno gold. Then there was Violator. A supreme album that came out in the late 80s, pushing into the 90s, but it needs to be here and to be recognised as a true top contender. The best song, and their signature tune has to be Enjoy the Silence - their remix of 2004/5 is really indi but really good. Its only a power chord, drum track and a cool vocal- but thats it- non technical, straight to the point.
Depeche Mode- Everything Counts (2007 remix)
I have got Yello's album Flag and I find it hard to pigeon hole these two Swiss guys. They have really cool, complicated, perfect deep techno, yet they can have a choruis singing over a rain sample, then have a race track sound with a guy singing to a cha cha type track. However they are really good, and very experimental using some out there sounds. Then they put their techno dance hats on they make a club killer. Jungle is a 90s track but the many remixes that they do on it- each one is different and again really cool- and you reach for your trusty sampler :)
Donna Summer - I feel love
This was the anthem, of the 80s by far (really it was 1979, but it is just class that it couldn't be left out). According to its creator, a German producer, the track was only made with 2 notes, then he shifted the notes up and down using computers. Then there was a beat behind it, with Donna Summers long vocal at the chorus and there you have an instant smash. Similar in style to Soft Cell.
Donna Summer- I Feel Love
NIN (Nine Inch Nails)
Trent Reznor is just great. He defined industrial techno and labeled it as his own. Genius. The debut Pretty Hate Machine is a stormer of an album, angry yet so cool as industrial top 80s techno. Sin is very powerful and can blast out your speakers. Very dirty techno but classic. If you want more, Further Down The Spiral is great. It is the remix album of Down the Spiral and has some really good tracks on it. Ruiner, Self Destruction (final) and top, but if you can handle all the way through The Art of Self Destruction (part one) is really good and is a great example of how keyboard electric guitars can really be used with some serious distortion added (its was also featured on a Levis advert).
Nine Inch Nails- Sin
Other top 80s techno artists that you may be interested in are: Underground Resistance, 808 State, Laurent Garnier, Joey Beltram, Carl Cox, Dave Clarke, Dave Angel, and Front 242. Each one is great, I especially like Carl Cox, who is still DJing now, and is still kicking out some dance floor stompers.