Detroit techno is a type of techno music that generally includes the first techno productions by Detroit-based artists during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Detroit has been cited as the birthplace of techno. Prominent Detroit techno artists include Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson. A distinguishing trait of Detroit techno is the use of analog synthesizers and early drum machines, particularly the Roland TR-909, or, in later releases, the use of digital emulation to create the characteristic sounds of those machines.
Detroit techno music was originally thought of as a subset to Chicago’s early style of house. Many of the early techno tracks had futuristic or robotic themes, although a notable exception to this trend was a single by Derrick May under his pseudonym “Rhythim Is Rhythim”, called “Strings of Life” (1987). This vibrant dancefloor anthem was filled with rich synthetic string arrangements and took the underground music scene by storm in May 1987. It hit Britain in an especially big way during the country’s 1987-1988 house explosion.” It became May’s best known track, which, according to Frankie Knuckles, “just exploded. It was like something you can’t imagine, the kind of power and energy people got off that record when it was first heard. “ With subtle differences between the genres, clubs in both cities included Detroit techno and Chicago house tracks in their playlists without objection from patrons.