Would you be surprised to learn that techno music, the baby of the Detroit music scene, is now one of the most popular types of music in Arabic countries? While it may sound surprising at first, it makes a ton of sense if you consider how fast (and successfully) genres like rap and hip hop spread to the Middle East too. If you’re curious to know more about this pulsing music phenomenon, keep reading- we have all the information you need!
Exiting Motor City
For techno music fans globally, Detroit is the unabashed home of techno. And if you visit the city today, you’ll see just how proud it is of incubating this unique electronic music style, with loving tributes to its legacy of musical heritage dotted throughout the city. Hey, you’ll even see signposts subtitled ‘the City of techno’ littering the city limits.
Entering the Middle East
However, while many in the Western World find it surprising, techno music has a flourishing new fanbase among Arabs globally. Fire up Lebanese music streaming app, Anghami, for example, and you’ll not just find Marshmello mash ups and Amr Diab. There’s a wealth of dance and techno music hits, all springing from smart collaborations between Arabic DJs and producers. In fact, you’ll find a ton of niche, but interesting, playlists and genres to explore. Think Chilltronica, Melodic Techno, and more.
That said, you’ll notice that the so-called ‘hard techno’ genres are often absent. There’s a few notables to follow, but there’s a strong skewering to the melodic side of the genre. Think Workals and Jan Blomqvist. That said, you’ll find plenty of Aphex Twin if that’s your thing. Meanwhile, artists like Boris Brejcha and Deborah De Luca are regularly playing sets throughout the Middle East. And we’ve even seen the development of Acid Arab as a genre!
While it was rare to hear electronic music genres in the Middle East until about 2010, as rising Arab pop stars started to collaborate more closely with EM DJs and producers, today you will even hear it on commercial radio. And the clubbing scene is pulsing with it. You can even hear its influence in royalty-free music from the region!
Heritage Mashups to Celebrate Culture
Nor are eager Arabic DJs simply content to play global hits, though you’ll find plenty of them to enjoy. Today you’ll find the pounding drum machines and eager synths we lose so much being layered up behind Arabic classics, either in their totality or as samples. Even old-school-cool tracks like Uum Kalthoum. And let’s be honest- the Oud already sounds like it was made for synth music!
This means hard-core ravers and those looking to celebrate their own musical heritage now have a lot in common, and the Middle Eastern club scene is thriving for it. Arabic audiences have long been partial to the club atmosphere, be it a beat-pounding disco or a more relaxed Shisha bar atmosphere, so it’s hardly surprising.
From dazzling new influences packed with Arabic rhythm, to just enjoying old-school Techno for what it brings to the table, the Middle East, and Arabic listeners in general, are fast becoming some of the most influential DJs and listeners on the Techno music scene.
Featured image credit: FB/Sama’ Abdulhadi