New Treasure Box Catalogs the Influence of Detroit Techno

Tresor 30 offers around ten 12-inch discs and a 16-page booklet. // Photo courtesy of Tresor

gGerman label Tresor may be based in Berlin, but his real home is Detroit. For 30 years, the techno label has been highlighting the musical connection between the two cities, industrial, innovative, catchy, harsh, playful and more than a little mysterious, like the sounds that come out of it.

“Dimitri Hegemann, the founder of Tresor, said that techno was the soundtrack to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, so I think it was largely about two very different cities crossing similar emotional territory. Detroit created the sound that Berlin embraced, and nothing will change that,” says Cornelius Harris, label manager of Underground Resistance Records and Detroit-based music collective, who has been at the forefront of Motor City techno since the pioneers “Mad Mike Banks, Jeff Mills and Robert Hood formed the project in 1989. In fact, it was their 1991 album as X-101 that launched Tresor, and the 1992 Underground Resistance track “The Final Frontier” is launching a recently announced vinyl box. together celebrating three decades of Tresor.

For Treasure 30, which includes a dozen 12-inch records and a 16-page booklet, industry insider and booking agent Carin Abdulá has compiled 52 tracks, including classics and new orders. There are 13 Detroit-based/adjacent artists featured in the box set, including Huey Mnemonic, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Drexciya, Ectomorph, and more, mixed in with other label stars from outside of Michigan.

“The process was quite organic and authentic,” Abdula says to create the mix. “I basically felt like I had this dream opportunity where I could connect with many of my all-time favorite artists while bonding with current talent that I feel like drinks from a fountain. similar creative.”

the Treasure 30 The narrative began to gel when Abdulá decided to structure the box set so that tracks from the pioneering artists served as emotional themes for the records, which were then expanded via tracks from the new music creators.

“The more I was able to make those connections with the new side of the roster,” she says, “the more I felt like we were headed in a super exciting direction.”

Even though techno was created by black people in the Detroit area, the austere, repetitive and sometimes austere nature of the music sometimes brings to mind industrialized Germany. But as the Tresor label has always done, this 30th anniversary box set lets listeners know that techno, like soul and hip-hop, is the creation of black artists.

“I’ve had many conversations over the years about how we black people just can’t seem to get into the rooms where decisions are made about the direction of our culture, and so we lose its thread. “, says Abdula. “I often say it’s good to have a seat at the table, but if no one counts you for dinner, so what’s the point? So with that in mind, I really felt that Tresor, as an institution celebrating a 30th anniversary, had a responsibility not only to pay respect to the black artists who contributed to its creation, but also to the context in which this art form was forged. I felt it was important to bring the intersection of race and class back into the conversation [and] that it was fundamental that we celebrate especially after the events of 2020.”

The Tresor 30 box set is scheduled for October. Find pre-order information on tresorberlin.com.


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Mnemonic Huey - Treasure30
Huey Mnemonic // Photo courtesy of Tresor

O’Shay Mullins, aka Huey Mnemonic, is a Flint native and current Detroiter whose profile is rising in the techno world thanks to a string of creative singles that nod to Detroit’s past as that he returns from the future.

Mnemonic’s track “Transmutation” has been ordered for the next Treasure 30 box set, where it appears as the second song. He shared the inspiration behind the melody:

“I intended to nod to the foundation of techno – which comes from Detroit – while giving my own spin. There was no specific track in mind that inspired ‘Transmutation’ , but I was inspired by the way the pioneers worked on their drum machines, producing sophisticated rhythms. I had wanted to experiment with African percussive sounds for a while. That is why the talking drum is featured alongside the sounds classic TR-727 drum sets. The sound of techno is Detroit. It has taken many forms since its inception, but the true sound will always be Detroit.

Want to know more about this sound? Mnemonic recommends these must-have Tresor tracks and Detroit techno classics.

The essence of the treasure:

• “The treasure trail”, by Mike Huckaby

• “Sonic Destroyer”, by X-101

• “Resistance,” by Scan 7

Detroit Essentials:

• “Stereotype 3”, by Robert Hood

• “High frequency,” by Ultradyne

• “I want to be there,” by model 500