Monday, 24 April 2006

There is No Such Thing as Techno!

Ok so this has been a pet peeve of mine for awhile (one among many, admittedly) so I thought I’d devote an entry to it.

I’ve followed electronic music since I was 16. I’m a big fan, and have moved through the years from going to raves in high school early on in college, rocking out to disco house, trance, anthems etc, to today moving into emerging genres like electroclash.

Never, in all my years of being an electronic music fan, have I ever heard the word “techno” used except when preceded by the words, “I don’t like.”

In fact I’ve never heard the word used in a non-negative sense. I hear it a lot from people who don’t like such-and-such a club because they play “techno,” and they want to listed to hip-hop and pop music.

Now for years when someone tells me this I haven’t bothered to correct them on their improper classification of music, it's a rather trivial point I guess. But just to be annoying, I'm going to clarify the issue!

The word techno, as this Wikipedia entry details, describes a style of music coming out of Detroit in the later 1980’s. It is often mistakenly used by North Americans as a generic term for electronic dance music, but no one familiar with dance music would ever call it “techno.”

If you like, you can think of techno as an originating art form that was one of the contributing sources to a variety of modern musical styles including dance, house, europop, and trance. But to use it to generically describe those forms of music would be like me saying I don’t want to go to a Blink-182 concert because I don’t like heavy metal. I’m using a dead musical genre to describe a style of music whose only connection to it is partial influence.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to not like electronic music. Just know that the word “techno” is going to make anyone familiar with the genre bristle. Not just because it’s inaccurate, but also because the word has taken on a dismissive, negative connotation, and any use of the word will come off as insulting to those of us who enjoy it.

Please, just call it dance music. Thanks!

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