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Open House at Tracklib: Early Originators & Electronic Music
Sampling

Open House at Tracklib: Early Originators & Electronic Music

Five artists featured in the Tracklib vaults to show a glimpse of the rich history of electronic music. Detroit techno, synth-heavy tracks, sample-ready acapellas, and early originators.

By DannyVeekens

Model 500 (Juan Atkins) - The Chase

Juan Atkins (photo: Matthew Vosburgh)
Juan Atkins (photo: Matthew Vosburgh)

Techno pioneer Juan Atkins is often considered to be the father of techno. Growing up in the Detroit suburb of Belleville, it’s the city’s soul of Motown and the funk of Parliament-Funkadelic that first had a huge impact on him. “No wonder there’s soul in the music of a kid from Detroit who starts making dance music,” Juan Atkins said in a 2015 interview. The music of Parliament-Funkadelic introduced Atkins to synthesizers, which inspired him to buy a Korg MS-10. But it was the pioneering work of German trio Kraftwerk that got him into sequenced drum programming and industrial rhythms. Under the moniker of Model 500, he crafted just that: synth-heavy computer love, with Motor City as one of the stops of the Trans-Europe Express.

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3:34

Blake Baxter - When We Used to Play

There’s more to the previous artist: Juan Atkins happened to be high school mates with Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, who as “The Belleville Three” are known as the originators of Detroit techno. Saunderson himself founded a label called KMS Records in 1987, also featuring music by him and Chicago native Paris Grey as Inner City, the electronic duo behind major worldwide hits like ‘Big Fun’ and ‘Good Life.’

On Tracklib, there’s a KMS-released track by Blake Baxter, an “unsung hero of the Detroit electronic music movement.“ The heavy “When We Used To Play” was sampled by UK dance act Bizarre Inc. for “Movement of Sound” in 1989, on their turn sampled in Spinnin’ Records tracks like Fedde Le Grand’s “Love’s Gonna Get You,” and remixed by house pioneer Todd Terry, who’s known for bringing together Chicago house with hip-hop breaks for a more energetic clash of styles.

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6:09

Nitro Deluxe - Journey to Cybotron

Cybotron live at Dekmantel 2019
Cybotron live at Dekmantel 2019

The roster of Cutting Records also features music tracing back to the early days of techno and electronic music. “Journey to Cybotron” by Nitro Deluxe is a nod to Cybotron, the early-80s Detroit electro outfit by Richard Davis and—here he is again—Juan Atkins. A 12” in 1986 with three versions of “Journey to Cybotron” (and “Mental Transformation” as a B-side track) brought together classic New York electro with Cybotron’s early experiments in Detroit Techno. Released by an artist who first performed with funk and jazz groups such as Sun Ra's Arkestra.

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3:51
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6:42
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6:25

A fun little bonus: with acapellas as the main ingredient for sampling in many dance productions these days, the catalog of Cutting Records also offers a range of surprising alternate takes: a Percapella, Hot-Apella, Love-Apella, and an early 90s Synth-Apella. All acapella oddities, with of course also a whole lot more vocal stems in our Tracks section.

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2:15
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0:56
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5:40
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3:09

Nexus 21 - Self Hypnosis

A couple of months ago, we explored the links between Grime and genres like house, UK garage & electronic music (or in the case of UK producer KwolleM, a more laid-back take on Grime). This 1990 track by UK duo Nexus 21 clearly shows that influence when grime pioneer Wiley sampled the track for “Laptop” on his 2017 Godfather album. “Self Hypnosis” was released on Network Records (prior to that known as Kool Kat Records), an important UK label in the late 80s playing a big role in first introducing Detroit techno to British and European audiences.

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5:27

Byron Stingily - Having You

Byron Stingily (Courtesy Byron Stingily)
Byron Stingily (Courtesy Byron Stingily)

On the more soulful side of the spectrum, you find the house music of Chicago producer Byron Stingily. Next to his own sampling of disco, R&B, and soul tracks by the likes of Hall & Oates, Eddie Kendricks, Sylvester, and Isaac Hayes (on a related note, for those who don’t know: last year, we released 19 previously unreleased tracks by the soul legend), he was also the lead singer of Ten City, whose "Devotion (The Voice of Paradise Mix)" was iconically sampled in "Firestarter" by The Prodigy. “Having You” features his own distinct falsetto vocals, over a disco-fueled house track.

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9:00
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9:46

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