Prep For Movement by Brushing Up on Detroit’s Founding Techno Labels

With Movement on the incoming with only 2 months remaining, it’s time to brush up on your OG Detroit labels and show the locals some love. With hundreds of (releases) from these groundbreaking imprints its worth skipping the international newcomers and grooving with the (old heads). The founders of it all, The Belleville Three, are set to make their combined debut on the Movement stage this year. If you’re planning to catch their set, best you know about to the local movers in their crate. Find the shops, get to digging, and keep your eye out for gems from these (outlets). P.S. Thrift shops may also have the goods.


Truly timeless by definition, Transmat is a name synonymous with Detroit. Launched by Derrick may in the mid-80s, this label’s catalog spans three decades. With well-known records from the boss’ alter Rhythim is Rhythim, Suburban Knight, Silent Phase, Psyche (Carl Craig), and much more, Transmat has kept it coming as an icon in tech taste. Celebrating 30 years in 2016, May’s label is now a tight-knit crew of producers from across the globe. Channeling classic vibes through production, recent releases boast a familiar framework while giving standard techno a facelift.  

KMS / Origins

The next label you need to know is the fittingly-named Origins by Kevin Saunderson. Returning this year with their own stage at Movement, this founding father of techno continues delivering classics in a steady stream. Another member of the thirty-year club, the KMS catalog boasts over 200 records. Recently branded ‘Origins’, Saunderson takes the sound of the label to the stage with showcases from Movement to the Mediterranean.

“I didn’t have that kind of foresight,” Saunderson told Billboard. “My foresight was that this music was for the world – any kind of race, any kind of culture…. That just means it’s meant to be and the vision from years ago is true: it’s for everyone.”

As Saunderson builds upon the early label to breed the next wave of Detroit techno, Origins is a prime example of electronic evolution. Tapping into the modern climate DJ-centric events, this is an obvious next step to continue the influence as a producer and creator.


Yet another label continuing to move the scene since the beginning, Juan Atkin’s Metroplex is a long-running staple in techno. Kicking off with his early pseudonym Model 500, the label hit their 44th release last year proving quality over quantity. With many of the releases done by the man himself, any self-respecting techno selekta should have a few of Juan’s 12″ tunes in their crate. Sporting a refreshingly robotic Kraftwerk vibe, the Model 500/Metroplex sound blends cosmic leads with a deep framework of Detroit techno. As Juan continues to jump between his pseudonyms with Dj sets under a variety of monikers, don’t expect Metroplex to be leaving earth anytime soon. 

Planet E / Detroit Love

If you haven’t seen one of the powerful sets by Carl Craig, you haven’t really lived the techno life. In the second wave of Detroit techno, Carl came up influenced by the crew above. Flash forward to today and Carl (the American one) is still killing it. As evident in his legendary performance streamed from Boiler Room Ballantine Germany, his stoic expertise give a heart reminder that much of techno culture was influenced by him.

Hosting a significant discography spanning 25 years, Planet E records have been spare for the past few. Still swinging big, the Carl Craig crew has evolved into what’s now known as Detroit Love stays fresh with a steady stream of events which bring and old vibe with new.

Underground Resistance

Kicked off by Jeff Mills and “Mad” Mike Banks in the late 80s, Underground Resistance is a collective and label with Detroit at its foundation. Dubbed the Public Enemy of techno, UR have a militant edge to their brand said to be rooted in the culture around the city (and genre’s) African American backgrounds.

We urge you to join the resistance and help us combat the mediocre audio and visual programming that is being fed to the inhabitants of Earth, this programming is stagnating the minds of the people; building a wall between races and preventing world peace. – Underground Resistance

Self-described as a combination of Hi-tech soul, Cosmic jazz-funk, Riot disco, and Timeless electro; this crew are much more than just a record label. Gigging as a group, the brand was built on experimentation in the studio and behind the decks. Fusing genres and creating new, this early electronic collective paved the way for dance collaboration.

Buy tickets for Movement if you haven’t already. Kicking off on May 27 the city-wide techno takeover brings local legends and global friends back to where it all began. With all of the above slated for appearance, don’t miss it.