We call it PSYLECTRO: Psylectro, also known as Minimal (originally, minimal techno) is a form of electronic dance music that is considered a minimalist derivate of techno. It is characterized by a stripped-down aesthetic that exploits the use of repetition, and understated development. This style of dance music production generally adheres to the motto less is more; a principle that has been previously utilized, to great effect, in architecture, design, visual art, and Western art music. The tradition of minimalist aesthetics in Western culture can be traced to the German Bauhaus movement (1919 to 1933). Minimal techno is thought to have been originally developed in the early 1990s by Detroit based producers Robert Hood and Daniel Bell.
In his essay Digital Discipline: Minimalism in House and Techno Philip Sherburne also proposes what the origins of Minimal techno might be. Sherburne states that, like most contemporary electronic dance music, minimal techno has its roots in the landmark works of pioneers such as Kraftwerk and Detroit Techno’s Derrick May and Juan Atkins. Minimal techno focuses on rhythm and repetition instead of melody and linear progression, much like classical minimalist music and the polyrhythmic African musical tradition that helped inspire it. By 1994, according to Sherburne, the term “minimal” was in use to describe any stripped-down, Acidic derivative of classic Detroit style.
Los Angeles based writer Daniel Chamberlin, attributes the origin of minimal techno to the German producers Basic Channel and in doing so fails to credit the contributions of Robert Hood or mention the influence of Hood, and other members of Underground Resistance, on the Berlin techno scene of the early 1990s (the scene out of which Basic Channel emerged). Chamberlin draws parallels between the compositional techniques used by producers such as Richie Hawtin, Wolfgang Voigt, and Surgeon and that of American minimalist composer Steve Reich, in particular the pattern phasing system Reich employs in many of his works; the earlist being “Come Out”. Chamberlin also sees the use of sine tone drones by minimalist composer La Monte Young and the repetitive patterns of Terry Riley’s “In C” as other influences. Sherburne has suggested that the noted similarities between minimal forms of dance music and American minimalism could easily be accidental; he also notes that much of the music technology used in EDM has traditionally been designed to suit loop based compositional methods, which may explain why certain stylistic features of minimal techno sound similar to works of Reich’s that employ loops and pattern phasing techniques.