Detroit. 1985. It begins. Post-industrial revolution, Detroit crumbles as businesses close and its motor industry implodes – but from its decaying streets the sound of the future is born when genuine human spirit becomes entwined with technology to prevail in the face of economic decline. After the split of his group Cybotron Juan Atkins utilizes the synthesizer technology at his hands to usher in a new wave of electronic music. Inspired by European pioneers Kraftwerk, and the novels of Alvin Toffler, Juan sets about creating a futuristic electronic soundscape and names this new sound techno. But he needs an outlet for this revolutionary sound… In the wake of rejection from numerous big labels, Juan embraces the enterprising spirit of his hometown Detroit to create his own label, Metroplex Records.
In 2015 some say the heart and soul of electronic music has been lost. We live a world overrun by technology, where musicians have an endless supply of sounds and equipment at their disposal but somehow many are unable to express that raw emotion that came through in the music Juan released over two decades ago. The Metroplex owner’s visionary quest was to simply soundtrack the future, a future where, unbeknownst to him, emotions are slowly being eroded away. How fitting then, that his recordings transmit so much soul when much of 21st century planet Earth is tapped into the information superhighway, becoming increasingly muted in their sense of self-expression and communication.
In years gone by Motown had been the sound of Detroit, but the future came in the form of techno and it continues to transcend generations inspired by Juan and his magical creations. Spreading across the globe, the contagious techno sound engulfed America and soon hit Europe spawning armies of musicians and an explosion of club nights in every major city.
Thankfully those early sounds have permeated down through the generations inspiring today’s electronic music prodigies to continue Juan’s noble legacy. Though humanity may be dissipating in some aspects of society, music continues to reinforce our spirituality and our innate desire to express our feelings and emotions. The recordings of Metroplex are a reminder that technology can still have a heartbeat, a feeling… a soul, and that the human spirit is still very much alive and well.