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My new love of 'classical' techno music

I got into techno music when I visited Berlin for the first time in 2015 – my friends and I went to Tresor, an underground techno club which appears to be an abandoned warehouse. It was really dark and smoky inside. My friends all left early (with the exception of 1 or 2 of my friends, most don’t like techno music) so I stayed by myself until the very early hours of the morning (7am). It was the night when I fell absolutely in love with this genre of music. I just remember loving all of the electronic variations (particularly, I love it when they are ‘minor-keyed’) played on top of a very constant, melancholic and ‘deep-bassed’ four-on-the-floor beat which floated smoothly in and out. I felt so much energy just by listening to the music despite being heavily sleep-deprived. From then on, I frequented techno events (mainly in London and Berlin) however I never really listened to techno music outside of a nightclub environment…

Until someone recommended me Nuages’ ‘Dreams’ which falls within the subgenre of chillstep. I discovered that there are quite a few subgenres in techno – from chillstep to dub to minimal to acid (chillstep being my favourite and more recently, I think it’s called, classical techno). I absolutely love this track – the very soft and delicate synths accompanied by melancholic vocals really encourages the ultimate dreamy, illusive environment. It’s difficult not to drift off when listening to this track and I also really like the way in which Alan Watt’s ‘What If You Could Control Your Dreams’ is sampled in the track.

“Let’s suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream you wanted to dream, and you would naturally as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfil all your wishes.” I believe that this is true although hard to control but anyways, this is a different story.

I also love the other tracks by Nuages and listened to a number of other artists who convey a similar melancholic, dreamy vibe (below is just a pinch of a sea of chillstep tracks I like listening to):

Kiasmos' 'Swept'

AK's 'Sleepless in Berlin'

Thrupence's 'Atmos'

More recently however, I came across what I would call ‘classical techno.’ This sort of music is rather different from what I’ve listened to before… different to the tracks that are typically ‘chillstep’ because those tracks almost solely feature electronic elements. Hungry Music released this album by Worakls (a DJ from France who is also a classically trained pianist) called ‘Orchestra’ this year and honestly, it’s one of the best albums I’ve ever listened to in the ‘contemporary classical music world’ that I try to dabble in. He combines techno music with live piano and orchestra – the music is progressive, spews out excitement and optimism and on many occasions, showcases the same intensity as tracks composed by some of the most epic film music composers like Hans Zimmer. I recently went to see him, N’To and Joachim Pastor live in London – they are all DJs from France producing ‘a mix of techno and acoustic music’ and honestly it was absolutely incredible. The beautiful piano compositions played at 4am by Worakls before the switch-up to spinning DJ decks is so invigorating. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Here are some of my favourite tracks (I think they sound so much better when played live though!):

Worakls' 'Salzburg' - This is the first ever piece I have heard from Worakls and it immediately gripped me. I love how the textured build-up of the riff and how optimistic the piece sounds. This is a really feel-good piece and can get me in a better mood any time really!

Worakls' 'By the Brook' - I love the sweeping strings playing a very emotional melody accompanied by the choppy synths.

Worakls' 'Caprice' - I absolutely love the tremolo of the strings and how the strings play very rigorous, scalic passages. The piano then adds another layer of texture and emotional feeling.

I am finding it really difficult to find pieces that I am not a fan of in Worakls' 'Orchestra' album - to be honest, I just recommend the entire album. There is simply just too much like!

Other pieces I like from N'To and Joachim are:

N'To's 'Alter Ego' - I love the maintained riff throughout being built up by the techno beats and the gradual variations to it.

N'To's 'La Cle de Champs' - N'To really takes us in an arpeggiated journey here... I believe this piece translates to 'key of the fields'? I love the deep frequencies and pads, and the light hi-hat beats gives me bursts of energy.

Joachim's 'Reykjavik' - I love the very glassy synths in this piece which brings an 'icy' feel. I've visited Iceland before this piece really paves way for a mental journey back there. Again, I love the optimism it brings and it really brightens up my day.

I am really so excited about the future of techno music and the evolution of this new genre (I believe), classical techno. I will for sure write more about this in the future.

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