It’s hard to say when minimal techno began, and who started it. Richie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos are two DJS, to name a few that have made the sound more popular. As with most electronic music, there are multiple genres and styles associated with minimal techno. Terms such as microhouse, glitch and dub-techno orbit around the term minimal techno.
I got into the sound in late 2003. As I was looking around on the internet, Magda’s name came up in association with Richie Hawtin, which eventually led me to the Paxahou site, where I listened to one of her sets and ended up buying a copy. Ever since then, I’ve been following the sound. Good minimal techno, to me, should be focused on a strong bass-driven beat, with interesting (subtle) samples. The track should build up slowly, including quirky (this is where the glitch might come in) and catchy samples or loops. Two tracks that demonstrate this to me are Adam Beyer’s “A Walking Contradiction” and Heartthrob’s “Hot Sugar Candy Apple Taffy.” Both of these tracks can be previewed at http://www.beatport.com; just search by name.
Recently I came across a good article on the matter called “The Month in Techno” from the Pitchfork site. It’s a good read for anyone interested in minimal techno. The articles goes on the discuss the logic of 12 minute tracks, the use of laptops and vinyl for sets, the extraordinarily long (4-6 hour) sets, and the marathon length of the parties in Berlin. I would recommend this article to anyone interested in the sound.
I wonder when the scene and sound will get rolled up into a book. (Anyone interested in exploring this?)
If you’re interested, below are a couple of links that give a good presentation of minimal techno.
Check out the following link for a list of downloadable Magda sets: MedellinStyle.com :: Ver tema - Magda Sets.
Another good example of the minimal sound is DJ Ganik from Serbia, I think. His sets can be downloaded here.