High Tech Soul (4 stars)

High Tech Soul

(E) 64 min


Subtitled the ‘Creation of Techno Music’ this documentary sets out to detail just that very subject, going back to the roots of the Detroit scene, the birthplace of techno as we know it today. The film aims to position the genre’s development in the social deprivation of Motor City, and its musical roots in the likes of Kraftwerk, George Clinton and the P-Funk scene.

The piece features interviews with pretty much everyone involved in the development and furtherance of the early techno movement; Blake Baxter, Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Stacey Pullen, Jeff Mills, Eddie Fowlkes, Carl Craig and more reminisce and set the scene. Inevitably, the bulk of the film centres on the work of the big three, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, the founding fathers of techno back in the 80s.

Director Gary Bredow demonstrates a love of the genre, humanising machine music by attaching a personality to the creators of one of the proto-forms of dance music. It was revolutionary at the time and this demonstrates how advanced their knowledge of samplers, synths and electronics was at the time. The stories are genuinely amusing and/or informative, giving a real insight into how a musical style is created. The only downside is the length: you actually want more run time as the credits roll.

These Triptych screenings are particularly unmissable as techno legend Derrick May will be introducing the film and taking part in a Q&A.

Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Sat 26 Apr; GFT, Glasgow, Sun 27 Apr (Juan Atkins plays with Model 500, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Sat 26 Apr; Derrick May also DJs at the Last Ever Triptych Party, the Arches, Glasgow, Sun 27 Apr).

High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music

  • 2006
  • US
  • 1h 4min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Gary Bredow
  • Cast: Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson

Documentary tracing the beginnings of techno music from first generation players Atkins, May and Saunderson, through to the contemporary scene, as well as offering an in-depth cultural study of Detroit.

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