Juan Atkins / The Berlin Sessions

exclusive feature
David Stromdahl
The Liberator Magazine 4.3 #11, 2005

By now you’ve probably heard Missy Elliott’s “Lose Control,” in fact you may recognize the keyboard sweep and electro pulse that form the foundation of the track. Issued in 1983 on Fantasy; “Clear” by Cybotron has rightly maintained “classic” status. Juan Atkins split from his partner in Cybotron and continued as Model 500 (and others) on his own Metroplex Imprint, which released another classic “No UFO’s.” This track along with others from Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson would create the blueprint for modern techno and change the sound of music around the world. Consistent and innovative, Juan has recently released an album and a 12”.

The Berlin sessions on Tresor continues to deepen the musical bond between Detroit and Germany. A straighter techno feel on “Sessions” prevails. It’s sleek, clean; up-tempo tracks have a long flowing feel to them. Similar in texture to Model 500’s “Deep Space” album for R&S records in 1995. On the “Outer Space” 12” (his 38th Metroplex release) Juan returns to reassert his position as electro pioneers. Treated vocals intone a monologue about the future and you and how to make it there. Delivered over a woofer taxing, electro beat, sprayed with shards of keyboard noise and buzzing bass. Juan warns us “when you listen to this, it’s going to blow your mind.”

Both records are a brilliant reminder of the still vital techno underground that exists in Detroit. A Black American art form that has been operating and producing quality material indifferent to prevailing media generated trends. Check Submerge.com for evidence. Sample the future…. Missy has.

[Editor's Note: More from Juan Atkins' past below]

Urban Tropics:

Walking On Water:

Night Drive (Thru Babylon):

The Mission:

Interview w/ Loving The Alien:

And look for the film Hi Tech Soul, The Creation of Techno

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