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Is It Over Yet? These Techno Tracks Redefine "Timeless"

We're looking at you Villalobos.

"Will it EVER end??"

It doesn't take a musicologist to know that most electronic music songs are pretty long – They're made for the club, not the radio, so there's more time to build an idea. Whether you're talking about a mainstage anthem or some UK bassline, more than likely you'll be landing in the 4-6 minute range. Sure, we see a rapid-fire radio edit or quick hip-hoppy beat from the likes of Flying Lotus from time to time, but for the most part, producers in our world want to give you an experience far from a short-lengthed pop number.


There are some occurances, however, when this theme is stretched past the norm, into a realm that is all on in its own. Enter the techno producer. From Juan Atkins to Richie Hawtin, these artists have gained acclaimed in stretching the limits of sound design and track arrangement, providing us with tunes that blur the lines of what "can work" and when "enough's enough." Many of the genre's most influential productions have thrived in their mindblowing longeivity; tracks that slowly unfold and unravel, implode then come back to life, and all the while making us question, and listen in awe, to what the hell we are hearing.

Here are some of the longest, at times most uncomfortable, and utterly brilliant techno tunes of recent memory:

Villalobos - "Fizheuer Zieheuer"

Maybe he's occasionly too fucked up to know when to hit the off switch, but nonetheless, Villalobos is the unparralled king of long techno. His prized 2006 production, "Fizheuer Zieheuer," clocks in at a mammoth 37 minutes and is primarily built around a horn sample from a gypsy folk song, "Pobjednicki Cocek," by Serbian group Blehorkestar Bakija Bakic. (Hint: You'll be seeing Ricardo again below. )

Michael Hoenig & Manuel Göttsching - "Early Water"

"Early Water" and is by Manuel Göttsching (of German krautrock group, Ash Ra Tempel) and another German composer, Michael Hoenig, blurs the line between a "song" and a full on continious composistion. Nevertheless, it's a fascinating and intricate creation that contains elements ranging from techno to ambient and most importantly, something called Berlin School. This was a style of electronic music that emerged in the 1970s as an outgrowth of Krautrock. The airy and psychadelic nature of this piece was considered by some a catalyst for the growth of electronica, new age and even trance music.


Luciano - "Rise Of Angel"

"Rise of an Angel" by Swiss-Chilean artist Luciano leans slightly into the tech-house end of the spectrum, but is still so long and breathtaking that it's more than a worthy inclusion. This emotional offering clocks in at over sixteen minutes and contains a synth line that gradually builds and expands over the course of the track. At about five minutes in, some gentle piano chords come in and it's not until about nine minutes in which you hear the faintest plucking of strings. The song is also a homage to Luciano's late son, who he stated upon release "now lives with the angels." Like many other songs of this length, it's often only truly understood in the live setting, and is always a highlight of the DJ's sets.

Manuel Göttsching - "E2-E4"

Yes, Göttsching has not one, but two of the longest electronic songs ever created on this planet. First released in 1984 (Orwell anyone?), the album consists of a minimalistic hour-long progressive track that was in some cases subdivided into single tracks according to the stage of the song. The composition is named after one of the world's most famous opening chess moves, "1. e2-e4" in addition to the fact that the guitar played by Göttsching is tuned from E2 (the low string) to E4 (the high string). Many electronic music historians have credited this unique piece as playing an important role in the development of late '80s and early '90s house and techno music.


Gas - "Königsforst 5"

This fifteen minute track comes from Königsforst, the third album from German electronic producer Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project. This was released in 1999 on the Mille Plateaux label and is said to be named after a forest near Voigt's hometown of Köln. It is also said that his youthful experiements with LSD provided inspiration for the entire Gas project. What a surprise!

Shackleton - "Blood On My Hands (Ricardo Villalobos' Apocalypse Version)"

Oh hi again, Rick! This time around, the gangly Chilean-German throws a near twenty minute spin on "Blood on My Hands" by the Skull Disco label's Shackleton. This remix is riddled with dark and ominous overtones and feels like what one would imagine getting sucked into a black hole might feel like. That, or a night on ketmaine. Villalobos is said to be a big fan of the Skull Disco label's releases which often are characterized by ethnic vocals, massive wobbling sub-bass and a strong Muslimgauze influece.

DJ Hell Feat. P Diddy - "The DJ (Radio Slave Remix)"

Back in 2009 DJ Hell teamed up with none other than P. Diddy on for track "The DJ." Not long after, the pair recruited British DJ Radio Slave, who founded the Rekids label and has released everywhere from R&S to Ostgut Ton, to put a terrifying near half-hour spin on the tune. Layered upon warped clips from Diddy's rant (fittingly about the abscence of long songs in dance music) he stretches psychadelic swirls far and deep before leading into a piano solo about the 22 minute mark. Diddy's appearence here seems like a match made in heaven. It's no secret that the famed rapper, producer, and entrepreneur likes to get weird with the techno fam. Just give a listen to his collaborative album with Guy Gerber.


Steve Roach - "Arc of Passion"

More than likely you haven't heard of Roach, but the dude has been twisting knobs and brains since before you were born. His sound has been called an amalgation of tribal-ambient, techno, as well as space and drone music. He also was one of the first to include a didgeridoo in electronic music. Thank you for that Steve. While many of his productions are typically without a constant beat, "Arc of Passion" from his 2008 album of the same name, contains a healthy serving of pungent alien-techno sounds that simply never want to end. And they don't! The track even has a part-two that wiggles on for another 30 minutes. Wake me up when it's over, please.

DJ Pierre - "What Is House Muzik (Ricardo Villalobos What Is Remix)"

Released just this week on the German label Get Physical, 'Lobos is back to his yammering as he stretches out DJ Pierre's "What Is House Muzik" about as wide as the equator of Kim Kardashian's rear end, fittingly donning his remix the "What Is" remix. What is what, Ricardo? The proper length of a techno track? The level of your sanity? The plot of Interstellar? We have no fucking clue. And that's just how we like it.

Kraftwerk - "Autobahn"

Where else could we end then with the one that started it all? The original long techno song, responsible for creating a decade-spanning history of well, long techno. The title track off the German quartet's debut 1974 album, "Autobahn" influenced a generation of knob twisters, like Detroit trio The Belleville Three (Atkins, May, Saunderson) who are responsible for the creation of techno at large. It's 22 minutes of sheer computer bliss and without it, you simply wouldn't be reading this.

David very well might need therapy after spending his day listening to all of these tracks. @DLGarber