3. Juan Atkins, '20 Years Metroplex: 1985-2005' (Tresor, 2005)
Techno was born in the mid-Eighties in Detroit, where visionary producers Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May fused Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaataa's electro and Chicago house with a sci-fi futurism to come up with a sound that reflected the austere decay of post-industrial Detroit just as Motown's bright, assembly-line grooves had reflected the city in its optimistic prime. Throw on this survey of Atkins' foundational techno label Metroplex and you can watch the music come into its own – from the interplanetary funk odyssey of Model 500's "No UFOs," which journeys light years beyond Bam's "Planet Rock," to Cybertron's "Clear," where the vocals sound like George Clinton crossed with Darth Vader. Decades later, the coolly percolating blips, Casio salsa-setting grooves and robo-B-Boy vocals still sound like a freaky alien landing.
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