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From his early experimental releases in 1993-94 up to the present day, Tokyo's Ken Ishii is one of the most critically acclaimed techno artists in the world. His music takes influences from Detroit techno, traditional and electronic Japanese music, and visual art to create a colorful sonic canvas. A track from one of his first EPs, "Low" is a haunting slice of future blues.
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Tech-trance emerged in the late nineties as an alternative to the more organic and cluttered psychedelic trance sound. Here, German tech-trancers Mittelstandskinder Ohne Strom bring us a darkly melodic track from their 1999 album "Bug", with cold string washes and layers of buzzing, snarling, electric noise. Tightly interlocked percussion keeps the proceedings funky, synth bass bobs and weaves through an assortment of patterns, and it all gets down in a peculiar post-apocalyptic kind of way; if the T-800s from the first Terminator movie ever threw a rave, this is what they might shake exoskeleton to.
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A Certain Ratio are a post-punk funk band from Manchester that delved into rave territory around the end of the eighties. This is probably the best of those flirtations, a sort of ambient-techno take on the electrofunk coming from American producers like Mantronix. Around a snappy 808 groove, drifting synthesizer voices snake in and out alongside melodic percussion, tribal chants and screams, all topped off by a catchy steel drum riff. The overall effect is narcotic.

For DJs, this record had a feature that made it a bit of a secret weapon; when pitched at +8, it transforms from a (relatively) sedate, 115 BPM or so toe-tapper into a midtempo dancefloor monster. I first heard it at this speed, in a mix online, without knowing what it was and spent weeks hunting for that "crazy electro track".

ACR have kept releasing music and playing over the years, with a catalog stretching from 1979 up to the present day and straddling many genres. There's much to explore! In the meantime, I'll just be hitting repeat on this one more time... ;)
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And here's the later period. At the end of the 88-90 videos you can hear where techno started to become trance, and at the end of the 91-94 videos you can hear the beginnings of psytrance, with a harder acid sound driving the synth layers.

1988-1990 )

1991-1994 )
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Welcome to the former Tumblog mind_like_a_laser!

To kick things off, I'd like to (again) post this remarkable 1989 set by Liaisons Dangereuses. It's quite long, but over the course of its three hours it encapsulates much of what I love about dance music. You'll hear synth-pop (Simple Minds - "League Of Nations"), dark electronics (The Normal - "Warm Leatherette"), EBM (Portion Control - "The Great Divide"), hip-hop (Time Zone - "The Wildstyle"), acid house (The Children - "Freedom"), electrofunk (Newcleus - "Automan"), early breakbeat (Renegade Soundwave - "Cocaine Sex"), and early proto-techno and proto-trance (Pete Shelley - "Witness The Change", Grauzone - "Film 2", Logic System - "Unit").

This music is from a time period when artists were out to make a statement and break boundaries; with limited technology and less divide between musical genres, experimentation and invention were the order of the day. This is strong, strange brew, and a harbinger of things to come in the rave, industrial, and trance scenes of the 90s and beyond.

Credit for the upload goes to http://www.youtube.com/user/Whirlytunes; if you like this, I highly encourage you to peruse more of their channel! I'm linking to this video without permission, and will remove at the OP's request.

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May 2012

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