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Video on demand from 15 May 2020

Elphi at Home: Helena Hauff

The star of the electronic music scene brings the Detroit techno sound to the Elbphilharmonie

Video available until 16 May 2025

The artist

It all started at the legendary Golden Poodle Club, the centre of Hamburg's alternative scene. In the club notorious for mottos like »The vomit made my jacket all sticky« or »The world watches us wipe the floor«, Helena Hauff played her first DJ sets, laying  the foundations of an international career. In the meantime, the musician, producer and DJ is one of the world stars of the techno scene, has released several albums and even set up her own label, »Return to Disorder«. She describes her music as »rough, dirty and a bit cold« –  EBM, techno, Detroit electro and wave are said to influence her style. The Hamburg artist rigorously refuses to employ digital programmes like Ableton: she assembles her beats on analogue machines, with her Roland 808 at the centre of the ensemble. However, her gig at the Elbphilharmonie doesn't present her own music, but rather a DJ set paying tribute to the beginnings of techno in Detroit.


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Helena Hauff


1. Arpanet - Illuminated Displays

2. Drexciya - Unknown Journey IV

3. Ultradyne - V.1014

4. Dj Stingray 313 - Acetylcholine

5. Jeff Mills - Protection

6. The Suburban Knight - Infra Red Spectrum

7. Aux88 - Alien Life Form

8. Aux88 - Electro/Techno

9. Professor X - Professor X (Saga)

10. Cybotron - Clear

11. The Other People Place - Let Me Be Me

12. Drexciya - Powers Of The Deep

Helena Hauff
Helena Hauff
Helena Hauff
Helena Hauff
Helena Hauff
Technik-Mitarbeiter bei Helena Hauff

The music

This will come as a surprise to some contemporaries, but the fact is that techno didn't originate in Berlin. Its true birthplace is the American metropolis of Detroit, where a new type of electronic music emerged in the mid-1980s that became known as Detroit techno; it can also be called the prototype of techno. Unlike in other directions, e.g. of house music, here instead of »positive vibes« the machine itself occupies the limelight, raw and direct like the city itself. Detroit was once famous for its car industry, but the 1980s marked the beginning of a process of urban decay, accompanied by growing unemployment and increasing homicide rates. And this left its mark on the music as well: Detroit techno boasts minimalistic beats with a strong focus on the bass line, free of any kind of disco glamour. In the meantime, the Detroit techno sound has long since evolved from a local music trend to a global one, and its founders – Juan Atkins, Blake Blaxter, Robert Hood and Jeff Mills – are seen as icons today.

The interview

»A DJ set in the Elbphilharmonie is already pretty unusual, and if there's no audience it's even more strange« - thus Helena Hauff on her concert in the empty Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall.

Text: Anastasia Päßler (Stand 13.05.2020)

Supported by the Haspa Music Foundation

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