Monday, November 2, 2009

What is Techno?

“Techno” as a style of music has always been quirky to define.  When I first discovered it, techno was something of an umbrella term for dance music over 140 bpm.   But then things became less clear.  In the mid-to-late 90’s I became aware of more ‘purist’ strains of techno, like the crunchy, minimal Detroit-style stuff.

So when I first encountered the music played by the Sabotage/Jus’ Right/Tweekin’ crew like Sugar Ray, Phil Smart and Ken Cloud I was at a loss to describe it.  Their music was slower than 140 bpm, so it couldn’t be techno.  It was a little bit trancey, but it wasn’t trance.  It was harder than house, but it sure as heck wasn’t hard house.  It wasn’t quite progressive either, and it was a bit minimal, like techno.

Of course, it was just techno all along but it took me some years before I worked that out.  This Sabotage tape from ’98 sums up the 'uncategorisable'  style of techno from that time.   There were two equally fantastic tapes in this series; one from Ray, one from Phil. Phil’s excellent tech-funk mix has been posted online elsewhere already, but as far as I’m aware Ray’s deeper, edgier tape hasn’t seen the light of day until now.

I’d love to get a track-list of this tape.  Most of these tunes I’ve never heard elsewhere and have no idea what they’re called or who they’re by.  The first and last tracks of side A are particular favourites.



  1. I remember this party at UC, was well wicked and Ive always had sudden urges to tear apart things and try and find this tape. But alas after moving up and down the east coast Im resigned to the fact that it had found a new home, but now, I have a copy, and am sooo very very very happy to have it back again :)
    yay for you!! mad props, thanks, peace :)

  2. DUDE! you are a legend, THANK YOU for sharing. I had this tape back in the day and I've been wanting to hear it again for ages!

  3. I have an old Ken Cloud mix from Freedom 99 I recorded on Triple J the week before the last sabotage.. If someone can rip would be happy to lend.... :) Love the Phil Smart side 2 cheers for uploading.

    1. John, do you have my 'Best of Alchemy' VHS? It's been 15 years, I'd really like it back please.

  4. The last track is the B side to Circulation "Red"

  5. Holy crap! And the beginning of side A is the other side of the same record. Thanks Matt!

    I thought I more or less knew all the old Circulation records.

  6. OMG I have been looking for this for way too long. Thanks so much champ. Massive Ness.

    I have some JunglePunk tapes as well. Will try to ressurect.