In the EDM (electronic dance music) world, there are literally dozens of different types of techno music. From the common genres like dubstep, house, and trance to the obscure like trap, happy hardcore, and industrial, almost everyone can find something they enjoy. Techno is a music style that is fairly new in popularity and is mainly featured at parties, raves, and music festivals around the world. Here are the top types of techno and how to tell them apart.
Dubstep has become a very popular form of techno and personally one of my favorites to listen to and see live in concert. Dubstep is generally played at a faster pace than other types of techno and focuses mainly on the break, drop, and bass beat of the song. Drum and bass dubstep exhibits a full frequency response that can only be fully heard on high quality speakers that can produce very low sounds. This section of the techno world is ruled by famous Djs like Skrillex, Tittsworth, Figure and others who have molded these sounds into an art.
Trance was created in the early 90’s in Germany and has a slower tempo than other styles of techno. Trance can stand on its own as a genre but will usually feature another style of music along with the main techno beat. With trance music there is an ebb and flow of rhythm with the music typically creating a build and release sensation of sound. Trance is featured at hundreds of festivals around the world from Asia and Europe to all the way across the ocean here in the United States.
House music is the genre that most people think of when they think of a techno song. House is the most commonly played techno found in clubs, bars, and your standard high school party. In 1985 house music fanned out from Chicago and became a popular electronic genre nationwide. Many people like house because DJs will usually take their own specific beat and add popular songs from the radio incorporated into their music. This appeals to a larger crowd that may otherwise not have liked EDM music.
Another exciting type of techno you will hear at almost every party is the video game reference genre. This category marks the evolution of both video games and techno alike and is a throwback to the fact that both of them started very much on the same technological level. Some of my favorites include Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. These original 8-bit songs are reworked in amazing ways and are incorporated into several other categories of techno music.
Hardcore originated in Europe at raves thrown in the 90’s. It had a typically hard, bouncy speed that can exceed over 200 BPM on the higher end. The name itself is used for describing many different types of music and has a significant meaning. The name hardcore means that the music comes from the street, is underground, but engaged in the community and sincere. Hardcore techno has spawned many sub-genres of music such as happy hardcore and dark core which are still popular today.
Industrial techno is my least favorite techno but is enjoyed by others in many places. Industrial music is characterized by the sounds of sirens, chainsaws, and machinery that are in each song. For many this is a much more intense and hardcore genre of techno that appeals to those that love metal and punk music. Artists in the industrial genre continually experiment with noise and controversial topics such as suicide, drug addiction, serial killers, the occult and many more alternative themes. Surprisingly this category of techno has a large fan base worldwide.
If you can’t distinguish between techno genres use this guide to be able to tell what you’re listening to or as a guide to find the right music festival or concert for you. Happy listening!
For more music related reading from this author, check out:
Sublime: The Band That Changed The Alternative World
The New Rave
Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music
An Idiot’s Guide to EDM Genres