Strings of Life

Album: Innovator (1987)
Charted: 74
  • songfacts ®
  • 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.
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