Track: Alleys of Your Mind (1981)
In Chicago, a new genre of music called House emerged in 1979 out of the late night disco dance scene. In New York, electro was developing throughout 1980 to 1982 with artists like Afrika Bambaataa. And here in Detroit, a new style of music was developed by 1982 which would be known as ‘techno.’
These new styles of electronic dance music ended up being the foundation for the future of music.
Three young African-American men form Belleville, Mich. (known as The Belleville Three) Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, connected through a common thread of musical interests; Kraftwerk, Parliament, Prince, The B-52s, and a radio host in Detroit named The Electrifying Mojo. Atkins was the first in the group to purchase a synthesizer and to learn how to DJ.
By the time Atkins attended college at Washtenaw Community College, he teamed up with Rick Davis and formed the group Cybotron, and they released the single “Alleys Of Your Mind” on their Deep Space label in 1981. The album sold 15,000 copies and became a staple of The Electrifying Mojo’s radio playlist.
Cybotron’s music changed the music and dance scene in Detroit. The city was in transition, from an industrial boomtown to a poverty stricken city. Cybotron’s music worked to mirror this shift in atmosphere in Detroit, and Atkins Afro-Futurist philosophy was also reflected in this music. Atkins is commonly labeled as the creator of Techno music.
Sam’s Jams is the weekly song selection of WDET’s creative producer Sam Beaubien, a longtime Detroit musician who also helms the soul-funk band Will Sessions.
From 70 years ago to contemporary releases today, Sam’s Jams is the musical equivalent of digging for hours in dusty record store bins to find forgotten-but-should-be-remembered deep cuts pulled from the genres of funk, jazz and soul genres.