17 May 2009

History of Techno in Germany: a Video Review

"We Call it Techno!" is a great documentary about the history of club scenes in Germany. Produced by H. Wich and M. Sextro, it focuses on Berlin and Frankfurt scenes of 1980s and 1990s. It depicts Berlin's eclectic taste for dance/Euro pop in a post-Cold War era, whereas Frankfurt hosted wild underground parties which gradually evolved into a highly competitive and commercialized club industry.

These were not isolated sites, as the film shows a wealth of artistic exchanges across cities, as DJ traveled with their entourages in crazy bus caravans. This ritual eventually led to the rise of the Love Parade in Berlin 89 - four months before the fall of the Wall.

The film also provides a great methodology for anyone interested in documenting their own rave/club scene. It aptly carries out the pedestrian task of registering artistic genealogies (who did what and where followed by whom). Yet, it goes beyond, by investigating local scenes within wider issues of technology, lifestyle, counterculture and popularization. In particular, I was curious to see their narrative of "decline". I was gladly surprised with how smart and reflexive the scene producers were in pondering about the ironical and unintended consequences of Techno’s massification in Germany.

As a minor critique, the documentary was limited to a strong geo/urban-centric bias. It remains stuck in a few cities, and totally neglects important transnational exchanges between German Techno artists and the rest of Europe and the world. For example, it is important to note events such as, Sven Vath's winters in Goa, his Coocon/Amnesia project and beach parties in Ibiza, besides the rise of global club legend Space located in the German resorts of Ibiza.

All in all, an excellent video. Watch it below:

[UPDATE July 19: The film was removed from Google movies, but you can still watch a short trailer]:


  1. mmmmh Tresor.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Here's a search for the trailer


  3. You can order the DVD here:
    DVD (german with subtitles)

    Scroll down its near the bottom of the page after all the Slicer releases.

    The cost is € 26.00