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Free tekno

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Free tekno, also known as tekno, freetekno and hardtek, is the music predominantly played at free parties in Europe. The spelling tekno is deliberately used to differentiate the musical style from techno. The music is fast and it can vary between 150 and 185 bpm and is characterised by a pounding repetitive kick drum.[1] Nevertheless, bass drum distortion by clipping is used less often as in the related genre of mainstyle hardcore. Nowadays, some tekno producers also use drum sets that rather sound trancey, since many members of the tekno subculture as well as the psytrance subculture frequently attend the same raves and the two scenes are closely connected.

Tekk/Tekke[2] is mainly produced in Germany and often remixes quotes or audio clips. As dance music, tekkno was unusually rhythm-oriented for the time.[3] Therefore, this term also became synonymous with particularly hard dance music.[3] At times, the number of the letter "k" was used to advertise the supposed hardness of the sound at parties and compilations (Tekno, Tekkno, Tekkkno...). A similar variant appeared shortly afterwards with the emergence of the Freetekno[de] scene. The overall sound of Tekk can be descripted as "dumb" or "asozial/assi", due to its heavy and monotone kicks with repeating vocals. Famous artists are: Die Gebrüder Brett, TekkSchuster, OsTEKKe, MoshTekk, HIGHTKK and ViruzZ.


Freetekno party

Tekno evolved in tandem with the teknival movement in the early 1990s since many of the teknival organisers and DJs were also making music. The music drew on influences such as hardcore, rave, jungle, early hardcore and techno, with the producers taking the sound in a darker direction. Spiral Tribe was the first to start making and widely disseminating this genre, taking it to France and Eastern Europe after the Criminal Justice act was implemented in the UK. An emphasis is placed on samples from TV shows, films and popular culture which are placed at strategic moments in the tracks. The music was produced with whatever was available: drum machines, synthesisers and keyboards as well as computer programs such as audio/MIDI sequencers and Trackers, sometimes even hitting a random table with a pen. Starting from year 2001 there has been a trend using laptop and laptops for live performances, because the capabilities of both the hardware and software were improving very quick.

With the evolution of the genre it has come to be known by a number of names, including spiral tekno, hardtek, tribetek, tribe and lately evolved in many other subgenres like pumping tek, hardfloor and Frenchcore which is a sort of mixture between mainstream hardcore and hardtekno, with funny and pumping samples taken from different media sources.

Artists within this genre usually follow a very different ideology when compared to more modern and mainstream producers:

  • Artists often use many pseudonyms, as they are not interested in mainstream success or recognition
  • Most are not interested in profit
  • They also support the free distribution of their works, as they do not see it as their own material, but as something that belongs to the fans and the community

This is described as "returning to the roots".


Jungletek and raggatek are genres derived directly from hardtek. These genres are often mixed to create fast energetic 190 bpm dance floor music. Kicked off around 2008 in the UK, Mandidextrous & Vandal were among the first producers of these genres. It breathed new life into the underground rave scene not only in the UK but also picking up a strong following in Italy, Spain and Austria to mention a few. Influences for this music also came from the techno scene in Europe where some of the first underground music lovers increase the bpm and added variations in structure, thus becoming tekno. Techno in the UK in the early 1990s was based on a bpm of 130-140. By the 2000s, tekno had gained more speed and hardtek was starting to dominate UK raves, especially in the South and London. Trance also progressed from sweeping delicate melodies to what's now known as hard trance. Hard trance is a faster and bouncier music than its predecessor. In late 2010s, there was a progression of drum and bass (DnB) into neurofunk, which was grittier and had harsher bass and synth sounds.

Raggatek is predominantly influenced by reggae and ragga, incorporating also elements from jungle, DnB, dancehall and techno. Well-known MCs such as YT and Top Cat are a massive influence on the world of raggatek. Producers loving this type of sound wanted to bring it to the dance floors of the underground. Upping the bpm to between 180 – 200 and adding breaks. The big sounding ragga style vocals are often present in raggatek songs.

Jungletek works on exactly the same formula as raggatek, replacing the ragga elements with those from jungle and DnB. It is less known for the vocal arrangements and more for its the bass lines. Jungletek takes the basics of the bass line from well-known jungle and DnB tracks and recreates them in a hardtek format. Original productions also use the simple format of kick-bass with amen breaks. European raggatek and jungletek are often recognizable by their energetic eletro sounds in the bass lines and synth melodies.


  1. ^ Dover, Wanz 10 Dance Music Documentaries That Will Make You an Expert Dallas Observer. July 25, 2015
  2. ^ "Tekkno", Wikipedia (in German), 2021-02-16, retrieved 2023-11-18
  3. ^ a b BRAVO: Tekkno-ABC

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