Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dan Sicko RIP

Journalist Dan Sicko passed away earlier this week from a rare form of eye cancer. His book "Techno Rebels" was arguably the first proper history of techno, tracing the evolution of the scene (and the careers of the principal actors) from high school dance parties in Detroit in the early 80's to the more global rave and electronica of the 90's. Sicko's book was a favourite of mine, and when I wrote for Cave 17, reviewing old techno and dance music compilations, I always used the title "Techno Relics" as a play on his book.

A number of sites have picked up on the news of Sicko's passing, but be warned that Rolling Stone and Matthew Perpetua are full of it when they write that "['Techno Rebels'] legitimized the Detroit techno scene of the Eighties for many readers." Techno wasn't waiting patiently for approval and legitimacy from rock critics in the 90's. Journalists didn't breathe a sigh of relief when "Techno Rebels" was published -- "I guess this means techno is real music now." Why not write similarly stupid things like "the Beatles landing in America legitimized the rock and roll of the Fifties for many readers." And of course, the "Detroit techno scene" wasn't only an eighties phenomenon. If anything helped to "legitimize" it, it was techno's blindingly rapid spread to the clubs and raves of Europe in the late 80's and early 90's. That's the kind of thing you can appreciate once you actually read Sicko's book (I doubt that anyone from RS has).

More of Sicko's writing as well as information about "Techno Rebels" is available at the site of the same name.

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