The Best Proto-Techno

Techno doesn’t look back—it never has. Infused with the sci-fi progressivism and Afrofuturist theology of its Motor City founders, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, the genre is committed to perpetual forward propulsion. It’s for this very reason that Resident Advisor’s Proto-Techno playlist is so indispensable. Shifting the time machine into reverse, it sends intrepid listeners back to mid-’80s Detroit, where Atkins, May, Saunderson and the rest of the city’s African-Americans groove to a diverse amalgam of funk, electro, disco, new wave, and cosmic jazz. Perhaps the only style underrepresented is synth-pop. Kraftwerk and Yello are featured, while The Human League and Depeche Mode, both of which Atkins has cited as key inspirations, are not. But those are mere quibbles. Resident Advisor has crafted a delightfully thumping and educational playlist that sheds some welcomed light on the mythical years leading up to techno’s birth.