The Vault: The classics of Electronic Music. The influential and the groundbreaking. The pioneering and the music we grew up on…
It’s 1986, this blogger is 11 years old. Up until this point my musical world has consisted of chart music and SynthPop (also chart music) inherited from my older brother. Then me and my mates discovered Graffiti, Breakdancing and Electro.
At the weekend we’d go down the underpass with a Hitachi boom box, a piece of old lino and a couple of spraycans for some poppin’, lockin’ and tagging. We’d clumsily practice our windmills and caterpillars to a soundtrack of mixtapes that came from who knows where; traded amongst older kids and eventually passed down to us.
One of these tapes changed my life.
It was a cassette of a pirate radio show, I didn’t know (and never found out) any more about it but amongst the likes of The Kartoon Krew and Mantronix was a track that blew my young mind.
That song, although I wouldn’t find out what it was called or who it was by until years later, was ‘R-9’ by Cybotron.
Everything I has ever heard up until that moment was, for want of a better word, poppy. Even the Electro Hip-Hop we were listening to was upbeat, party music and the darkest of SynthPop was still a verse-chorus-verse-chorus pop tune. ‘R-9’ was strange and dark with washes of eerie synthetic tones and an infectious Electro Funk bassline.
I Loved it!
Here was something that I hadn’t heard on the radio, hadn’t been played to me by someone else. I had discovered a band, and song, no one else around me knew about (admittedly, neither did I really!) and I enthused about it to anyone who would listen. And, so, my mind was opened up to the world of music out there that exists out there beyond the Top 40 and peer’s tastes.
I never stopped seeking out new music.
Cybotron was an early project from Detroit Techno pioneer Juan Atkins, with Richard “3070” Davis. Formed in 1980, taking influences from American Funk, European synthesizer music and English SynthPop, Cybotron became incredibly influential themselves. Juan Arkins, along with Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, is generally credited with originating Techno.
Cybotron were an experimental inspiration to many electronic musicians that you could break boundaries, yet keep it on the dancefloor.
Hear for yourself why:
Cybotron didn’t really release that much, re-releases can still be picked up, as can a couple of Greatest Hits albums,