Many of the names involved in the early days of British techno have some kind of recognition in the annals of electronic music, from The Black Dog, B12 and Mark Broom through to Stasis, Baby Ford and Kirk Degiorgio.
While house music took hold rapidly in the UK, an original techno sound germinated slowly. But, for a few years in the early ’90s, there was a hive of activity around a network of artists and labels in London that married haunting sci-fi romanticism in the Motor City tradition with a strange, angular funk that could not have come from anywhere else. Balanced neatly between club-centric sounds and home listening fare, this music presents a cohesive vision, even if – at times – the reality felt fractious or solitary for those involved.
London-based producer Ben Sims was an observer when the first strains of homegrown techno started to emerge. “A lot of the producers came from a similar ‘hip hop kids who discovered acid house’ background and you could hear that in the music,” he explains. “A bit of attitude, the use of breaks and samples, but with a huge influence from Detroit and Chicago.”