Mike Dearborn, techno & the church of the SpeakerFreaker


It was sometime in 1995, I think. A huge warehouse space somewhere on the Southside of Indianapolis. A full blown massive “rave”.

I had driven up from Evansville with a carload of friends for the party, and walked into a world of massive speakers and screens all over showing strange alien images throughout the evening.

The music was top notch all evening (and the smaller side room was absolutely lifechanging in the early morning hours), but one of the things I remember most, was a speaker.

I was dancing, knowing nothing about who was playing at the time, just dancing. There was a moment when I stopped knowing I was dancing, and just kept moving. And then those sounds…

From within the speaker came this sound, somewhere between a piece of steel being squashed like an accordion in stunningly fast and robotic rhythmic fashion, and sandpapery nanobots in a metal tube…and that’s still nowhere close to the sound. But…it grabbed me. It grabbed me and forced my brain down through the tunnel of the speaker cone, my legs still moving, my brain concerned with nothing more than HEARING THAT SOUND.

It was the sound of a Roland TB 303 bass synthesizer (I don’t know if I knew that then). Its common appellation musically is ACID: a sound that came from abusing said synthesizer and tweaking it into alien sounds far removed from the sounds of more organic musical forms.

But none of that mattered. The history of it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that sound, and that speaker and that my legs kept moving.

A few sweaty hours later, I found out the name of the DJ who sent me into this crazy mind-melting, leg-stretching frenzy of ecstatic dancing.

It was Mike Dearborn, techno legend from Chicago.

And I have never forgotten.

I miss that speaker, too.

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Mike Dearborn is playing at Tru in Broad Ripple this Saturday, Dec 11 at Solstice 2! You should probably come check him out. This time, I get to play after him. I promise to attempt to melt your brain as well.

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