Here’s another style report about a genre I didn’t knew existed until recently. Although I’ve known its main protagonists since the 90s and I saw Regis play in Zurich’s Rohstofflager club about ten years ago. Birmingham Techno is a mixture of Industrial Techno and Detroit Techno that works surprisingly well. I say surprisingly, because I’m not the biggest fan of Industrial Techno.
The reductionist Birmingham Techno sound consists of a fast tempo, metallic percussions, dark synths and cold industrial noises. The genre became big in the 90s after Regis and Female started the label Downward in 1993 to release a couple of tracks produced by Surgeon and themselves. The Surgeon EP came out the next year:
But before that there were two other releases on the label. One was by the duo Hostage, which consists of the two label bosses.
Regis got introduced to Techno through Neil Rushton and his Birmingham rave label Network Records. Nexus 21 was on that label, the duo that later transformed into Altern8.
Regis released his first solo work in 1995, here’s the burner track Speak To Me:
The same year also saw the debut of Regis and Function as Portion Reform. Accidents In The Workplace consists of three great tracks, here’s the stomper Condition:
Female’s debut Pelotone came a year later in 1996.
In the 00s Regis and Surgeon teamed up as British Murder Boys to adventure more into the industrial side of Birmingham Techno. As you can hear in the track Learn Your Message, they’re also influenced by Dub Techno.
But you don’t have to be from Birmingham to be associated with Birmingham Techno. In 1996, James Ruskin and Richard Polson founded the famous Blueprint label in London, being influenced by the Downward sound.
You don’t even have to be from the UK as the spanish duo Exium shows. Here’s Human Element, released in 2015 on the dutch label Mord:
Also from Spain is Oscar Mulero, who was much into Birmingham Techno, as his popular mix set About Discipline And Education indicates.
Another famous name from Spain is The Advent. His 2002 Tresor album was influenced by the Birmingham style. Here’s the track Sketched For Life:
Maybe it’s because Spain is right next to England but there’s yet another Spanish artist that’s worth mentioning here. Reeko has started the label Mental Disorder to put out his Birmingham-influenced dark, hard, industrial techno. But he also released on many other labels, here’s the suspenseful techno thriller Bad Mood on Pole Recordings:
But let’s go back to Britain for Makaton, a producer who releases mainly on Rodz-Konez, here’s She Hunts:
Last.fm associates some well-known artists with Birmingham Techno, such as Innigo Kenney, Pacou, Damon Wild and Fanon Flowers. But I’m not exactly sure as to why, as I’m not aware of any significant connections. If you know more, leave a comment.