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Juan Atkins

Detroit. 1985. It begins. Post-industrial revolution, Detroit crumbles as businesses close and its motor industry implodes – but from its decaying streets the sound of the future is born when genuine human spirit becomes entwined with technology to prevail in the face of economic decline. After the split of his group Cybotron Juan Atkins utilizes the synthesizer technology at his hands to usher in a new wave of electronic music. Inspired by European pioneers Kraftwerk, and the novels of Alvin Toffler, Juan sets about creating a futuristic electronic soundscape and names this new sound techno. But he needs an outlet for this revolutionary sound… In the wake of rejection from numerous big labels, Juan embraces the enterprising spirit of his hometown Detroit to create his own label, Metroplex Records.

We live a world overrun by technology, where musicians have an endless supply of sounds and equipment at their disposal but somehow many are unable to express that raw emotion that came through in the music Juan released over two decades ago. The Metroplex owner’s visionary quest was to simply soundtrack the future, a future where, unbeknownst to him, emotions are slowly being eroded away. How fitting then, that his recordings transmit so much soul when much of 21st century planet Earth is tapped into the information superhighway, becoming increasingly muted in their sense of self-expression and communication.

In years gone by Motown had been the sound of Detroit, but the future came in the form of techno and it continues to transcend generations inspired by Juan and his magical creations. Spreading across the globe, the contagious techno sound engulfed America and soon hit Europe spawning armies of musicians and an explosion of club nights in every major city.

Thankfully those early sounds have permeated down through the generations inspiring today’s electronic music prodigies to continue Juan’s noble legacy. Though humanity may be dissipating in some aspects of society, music continues to reinforce our spirituality and our innate desire to express our feelings and emotions. The recordings of Metroplex are a reminder that technology can still have a heartbeat, a feeling… a soul, and that the human spirit is still very much alive and well.

The first release on Metroplex was No UFOs, a classic slice of techno that bears all the hallmarks of Juan’s early innovative experiments with electronic music – full of funk, soul and energy. It became a favourite on Detroit’s famous TV show The Scene, one of many Soul Train imitations that were broadcast across the United States. With his follow-up release Night Drive, Juan had music lovers across Detroit immersing themselves in his sound. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to hear ‘Time. Space. Transmat.’ emitting from cars all over Motor City as techno quickly became Detroit’s soundtrack. Later, Juan enlisted the assistance of childhood friends Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson and, buoyed by the early success of Metroplex, they became an unstoppable force and Godfathers to a form of music that is still as relevant today as it was back then. Timeless recordings like I Wanna Be There, Future, Sounds Of Stereo, Neptune, Technicolor and countless more made Metroplex the vanguard of a forward-thinking movement within electronic music. The first label of its kind, releasing an entirely new form of music – conveying emotion, oozing sex, soul and funk – Metroplex creator Juan Atkins was a true originator in the way electronic music was produced.

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  • Juan Atkins Signing

    We are delighted to announce …

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    We are delighted to announce our latest addition to Blue Raincoat Artists, Juan Atkins. Known alongside Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May as one of the Belleville Three, Atkins’ place in the history of dance music is unparalleled, heralded internationally as ‘The Originator’, one of the founding fathers of techno.

    First producing in the mid 80’s under monikers Model 500 and Cybertron, Atkins achieved timeless hits with ‘No UFO’s’ & ‘Clear’. His momentum and development has endured ever since, seen in the sheer quality and  breadth of his discography, including seminal works with Moritz von Oswald as Borderland.