What Is Techno?

 About Awakenings | Awakenings

Source: Awakenings


Bone-shattering kicks, hypnotic melodies, heavy basslines: all you ever needed to let yourself go is right there, in the main characteristics of a genre that defined the last four decades of electronic music.

Techno embodies the energy and ecstasy of tribal music, taking the listener on a sensory journey that leads them to total freedom. Every component of this revolutionary genre aims to connect with the human mind's subconscious, resulting in a sonic experience that's as powerful as it is addictive.

But when did it all start? And where?

You might be surprised to find out that techno music traces back to Kosmische Musik, a genre explored in the 70s mainly in Germany (hence its nickname krautrock). The journey from experimental rock to techno was fundamental in the development of modern electronic music, so today we’ll take a look at how techno music came to be, its main features and how you can discover more about the genre.


The History

We owe the birth of techno to Detroit, a city that in the 1980s was a multicultural, often neglected melting pot of a racially integrated workforce where different cultures could easily transcend their traditional boundaries.

On the other side of Lake Michigan, Chicago brought to life the so-called Chicago House, another revolutionary genre that’d define the next decades of house music.

In this environment of constant sonic evolution, three DJs, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick, known as the Belleville Three, started combining together a blend of influences from the European electronic scene and the Chicago House style, resulting in a new hypnotizing electronic genre that relied heavily on synthesizers and the now legendary drum machine Roland TR-808.

It was only in the mid-1980s that the Belleville Three and other Detroit-based artists started becoming popular outside the region, mainly thanks to the global rave scene that helped spread this new addictive music style.



The main feature of techno is its repetitive beats. The magnetic properties of this music genre rely on 4/4 beats and a tempo ranging between 120 and 150bpm. Melodies are relatively simple and often created using electronic instruments and vintage synths like the Roland TB-303.

Tracks' length can vary, but a full track (with an extended intro and outro for easy mixing on stage) can be anywhere between five and seven minutes long.

Basslines and drumbeats are essentially on a loop, evolving as the song unfolds. If we had to choose one feature that defines successful techno tracks, that’d be a memorable bass/kick loop.


The Artists

Richie Hawtin

Carl Cox


Ellen Allien


Reinier Zonneveld

Charlotte de Witte


The Labels


Stroboscopic Artefacts

Plus-8 records


Basic Channel

Downwards Records



Five tracks to discover Techno


Ritchie Hawtin – Spastik



Drexciya – Hydro Theory



Space Raiders – Charlotte de Witte Remix



Ellen Allien - Bowie in Harmony



Umek – Vibrancy



Introducing Inferno: The Ultimate Melodic Techno Sample Pack

Inferno is the complete producer pack for the techno and tech-house producer. With a varied and extensive assortment of sounds, you'll have a magnificent sonic palette at your disposal that will help you shape your darkest productions. Wicked kicks, mesmerizing vocals, deep and intricate loops, and handcrafted synth FX: you’ll find this and much more in our formidable new sound library.

Samples are carefully labelled and ready to use, and each loop shows the tempo it was recorded in. The sample pack also includes project files you can use to examine how to make your next techno hit in no time.

Back to blog