Strings of Life

Album: Innovator (1987)
Charted: 74
Play Video


  • Rhythim is Rhythim was Detroit DJ Derrick May who pioneered the futuristic variation on house music that became known as techno. His early techno music was largely instrumental and deliberately sounded machine made. May described it as "real minimal, industrial, sort of apocalyptic-that cold-hearted Detroit mentality."
  • May's best known track was this anthem, which was based on a piano loop derived from a semi-classical piece by his friend Michael James and string samples taken from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra synthesized to ghostly effect. May described it as "23rd century ballroom music."
  • House DJ Frankie Knuckles named the song after the rapturous response it got at his Chicago club. He recalled to Mixmag magazine: "It just exploded. The kind of power and energy people got off that record when it was first heard."
  • The song was inspired by Martin Luther King. May explained: "When they killed him, they destroyed the hopes and dreams of a generation. It was about the hope in his message."
  • The song became a staple of the UK rave scene and various mutant techno hybrids such as Altern 8, Prodigy and 2 Unlimited took May's original template into various directions. Though May has not released any new material since 1993, he still continues to DJ, performing regularly in Europe and Asia.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Arrested For Your Art - The Story Of 2 Live Crew's "Obscene" Album

Arrested For Your Art - The Story Of 2 Live Crew's "Obscene" AlbumSong Writing

In the summer of 1990, you could get arrested for selling a 2 Live Crew album or performing their songs in Southern Florida. And that's exactly what happened.

Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire

Verdine White of Earth, Wind & FireSongwriter Interviews

The longtime bassist of Earth, Wind & Fire discusses how his band came to do a holiday album, and offers insight into some of the greatest dance/soul tunes of all-time.

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"They're Playing My Song

Chris and his wife Tina were the rhythm section for Talking Heads when they formed The Tom Tom Club. "Genius of Love" was their blockbuster, but David Byrne only mentioned it once.

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"They're Playing My Song

As a songwriter and producer, Narada had hits with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Starship. But what song does he feel had the greatest impact on his career?

Tim McIlrath of Rise Against

Tim McIlrath of Rise AgainstSongwriter Interviews

Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath explains the meanings behind some of their biggest songs and names the sci-fi books that have influenced him.

Ralph Casale  - Session Pro

Ralph Casale - Session ProSongwriter Interviews

A top New York studio musician, Ralph played guitar on many '60s hits, including "Lightnin' Strikes," "A Lover's Concerto" and "I Am A Rock."