The Detroit connection: Early 1980s – Late 1980s
Detroit techno was developed in the mid 1980s and remained popular until the mid 1990s. Though Detroit techno is a distinct musical form, its pioneers were also instrumental in forwarding house music internationally, especially in the UK and Europe.
Detroit techno developed as the legendary disc jockey The Electrifying Mojo, who conducted his own radio program at this time, influenced the fusion of eclectic sounds into the signature Detroit techno sound.
This sound, heavily influenced by European Electronic a (Kraftwerk, Art of Noise), early b-boy Hip-Hop (Man Parrish, Soul Sonic Force) and Italo Disco (Doctor’s Cat, Ris, Klein M.B.O.), was further pioneered by Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson.
KMS followed with seminal releases, including Blake Baxter’s 1986 recording, “When we Used to Play / Work your Body”, 1987′s “Bounce Your Body to the Box” and “Force Field”, 1988′s “Wiggin” by MAYDAY, “The Sound / How to Play our Music” and “the Groove that Won’t Stop” and a remix of “Grooving Without a Doubt”.
In 1988, as house music became more popular among general audiences, Kevin Soundperson’s group Inner City with Paris Gray released the 1988 hits “Big Fun” and Good Life, which eventually were picked up by Virgin Records.
Each EP / 12 inch single sported remixes by Mike “Hitman” Wilson and Steve “Silk” Hurley of Chicago and Derrick “Mayday” May and Juan Atkins of Detroit. In , KMS had another hit release of “Rock to the Beat” which gained popularity overseas and in Chicago.
Derrick “Mayday” May had a style that was similar to Chicago native Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers), but it soon became distinct and gained popularity in Chicago. Between 1986 and 1989, the Transmat label released several of his hits, including “Nude Photo”,
“It Is What it Is” and “Beyond the Dance” by Rhythim is Rhythim, “The Groove” by Suburban Knight, and “Illusion” by R-Tyme (Derrick May & D-Wynn). The biggest and most influential hit in the house music scene is Rhythim is Rhythim’s “Strings of Life,” which became a cult classic in dance music clubs internationally.