Melodic techno is a subset of Techno music that is greatly influenced by trance music. However, melodic techno often has a slower pace, typically ranging from 120 to 125 BPM. It also uses softer percussions, borrowing inspiration from Minimal Techno. You could say that Melodic techno is very similar to classic trance. We can appreciate this similarity in the many remixes of the 1990s classics. Melodic techno created a distinct sound that eventually influenced other genres. In the second half of the 2010s, melodic techno established itself as a distinct genre. These artists – Tale of Us, Mind Against, and Agents of Time – are the pioneers of this subgenre. They started in this new direction in 2013, as they previously produced deep house music.
History of Melodic Techno
In addition to other minimal techno artists such as Patrice Baumel, Stephan Bodzin became a prominent figure through the evolution of his style. The primary record label that popularized this subgenre is Dynamic Music. Solomun and Adriano Troilo founded Dynamic Music in 2006, in Hamburg. It’s grown to be a recognized presence around the world, from the Dynamic Festivals in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Brazil, to their weekly residencies in Ibiza, including the infamous “Solomun +1” events at the legendary nightclub Pacha. Another important record label of this genre is the recently established Afterlife, and in the years that followed, they supported well-known and emerging artists, including ARTBAT, Innellea, and Undercatt. More experienced producers like Maceo Plex, Kölsch, and KAS:ST also embraced the genre.
Notable Melodic Techno Musicians
After creating music for European theaters, German DJ, producer, and Herzblut label owner Stephan Bodzin fell in love with nighttime club sounds. Bodzin is a well-educated musician whose distinctive techno sound is captivating, driving, and filled with memorable melodies.
Patrice Bäumel, a German DJ and producer, moved to Amsterdam to attend business school. Bäumel began her career in Amsterdam in a contact center before moving on to an advertising firm, where she later worked as a multimedia designer before going freelance. The musician never really gave DJing a thought as a career until she went to the Red Bull Music Academy in So Paulo in 2002. Bäumel’s released her debut record on Trapez three years later. Today she is one of the most celebrated artists of this genre.
Otto Yliperttula, is another legendary Finnish DJ, composer, and record producer better known by his stage name Yotto. Pete Tong has nominated him for five Essential New Tune awards, and Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show has chosen two of his songs as the “Hottest Record In The World”. Helsinki-based Yotto left Anjunadeep and launched his own brand, Odd One Out, in 2019.
Melodic Tecno in Recent Years
In the late 2010s, melodic techno developed a sizable fan base in many European and South American countries. We relate its success to the popularity of both techno in general and other trance and progressive house subgenres, like melodic house music and progressive breaks.
Arpeggiated minor melodies are a defining element of melodic techno. The chords typically have extended reverb, stereo delays, and clear, delicate plucks. Ambient pads and heavy, rolling bass lines support these sounds. In turn, they combine to create a mystical and hypnotic ambiance that is reminiscent of early trance.