“Melodic Techno”: An investigation.

Today I got three tracks from a genre that’s not covered here on Beatradar earlier, “melodic techno”. The reason for that is primarily due to my own prejudice: “melodic” and “techno” is a contradiction in my book. Still is.

But sometimes us old grumpy clubbers gotta step down from our high(!) horses and check out what’em kids of today are dealing with. Who knows, we might like it!
… So, what IS “melodic techno”, really? Let’s investigate:

Andy Ascencio – Flow

A really good drive in this one, who also lends quite a lot from the Deep House genre. Groovy, deep, yeah I can like this. I especially like how it pretends to stop, before starting on another round.

But is this what “melodic techno” is all about? A slightly techy Deep House sound? Let’s continue our investigation:

Eelke Kleijn – The Magician

Eelke has his background from film scoring and video game soundtracks, and I think we can hear that in the electro vibes of this track. A track that keeps building, just how we like the progression to be in our house tracks.

He still suggest this also is counted as melodic techno, though. Does it make us any wiser?

Dip Treep – Head Out To The Trip

The final track today is kind of continuing in the veins of The Magician above. But it’s also giving me a retro association without really being retro. Can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something really classic over the way this track sounds. Maybe it’s the deep trance vibes. Cause the trance forces are strong in this one.

Dip Treep also classified this as “melodic techno”, but luckily it’s not too melodic. Instead it’s a real trippy ride that takes us well into the morning light.

So how do we conclude thus far? “Melodic techno”, isn’t it really just a variant of Progressive House (per classic definition)? Did we really need to create a new genre term I’m not convinced yet.

Historically, techno was all about the experimental electronica. Usually mechanical, quite cold, repetitive and minimal. And a focus on the percussive/rhythmic properties as opposed to melodic.
In fact, the “non-melodic” element was one of the very cornerstones of the genre definition. It was all about squeezing the weirdest shit out of their synths. Techno was as underground as it could get. Traditional melodic arrangements? Fuck that!

For a long time progressive trance and progressive house was where the confusion resided. Where did we draw the line?! Today those genres (as they appeared back then) seem to have been consumed into this new thing called “melodic techno”. But… Why? How did this happen?

I’ve never stayed updated enough on the trance subgenres to really have a strong opinion on that camp, but progressive house is confusing as hell: There’s the traditional proghouse, and then there’s that new electro-pop EDM thing with risers and drops and pop vocals and all that, who they also label progressive house (but has nothing to do with the original genre).

And maybe THAT is why we how have “melodic techno”: The new generation producers making progressive house felt alienated or even excluded in their real genre – progressive house – so they took the techno genre, added “melodic” to it and found their place there?
One can only wonder.

But I’ll keep an eye on this genre, see if we can sort this out!
To Be Continued…

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