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Cyberpunk Is Techno

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Most Uprisers augment their bodies for speed, strength, or protection, but a few just want to be one with the music.

If the future consists of massive computer networks, corrupt corporations / governments and augmented humans, and is dirty and grim (i.e. Cyberpunk), you can bet that the music of choice will be Techno, Electronica, and/or Industrial music. All three are forms of Electronic Music. Ambient music of choice? Techno. Hanging out at the Coolest Club Ever? No Hip-Hop, Pop, or any other dance music here, just techno.

Ironically, Punk Rock itself, despite the obvious assumption, seems to be absent in many cyberpunk offerings. It may be due to its dated style in many ways. Many feel that punk rock was at its peak in The '70s and stopped being relevant after the mid 80s, which is about when cyberpunk actually took off.

Since techno, industrial music, and electronica require electronics (hence the name) to work, the use of such can bring a futuristic feel to it. The music is usually played to give a dystopian mood. Since cyberpunk is usually set in a Dystopia, and in a technological world, this kind of music is perfect for that setting.

Compare and contrast Heavy Mithril for the music common for fantasy settings.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Serial Experiments Lain: While the opening and ending themes don't fall under this trope, all the in-show music is dark electronica.
  • Its Spiritual Successor Texhnolyze also puts techno on the opening theme. But not, in turn, in the series universe itself, which is mostly modelled after old-school Yakuza films, stylistically speaking.
  • Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 uses techno for its Background Music. The original series was more varied in its soundtrack.
  • Notably averted in the film version of AKIRA and in Ghost in the Shell (1995), where the soundtrack instead consists of a combination of synthesizers and traditional Asian chanting and instrumentation.
  • Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is as varied as the game in that regard, but plays in rock whenever there's a big showdown.

    Comic Books 
  • '90s-era Judge Dredd comics frequently had posters up on the walls for Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie and other Industrial Metal acts. The tendency of the dystopian future setting to use this kind of music was lampshaded during the Doomsday for Megacity 1 arc across 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine: Anderson meets a contact at a nightclub and comments that the music is giving her a headache and she can't understand why it's so popular.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hackers. Mid-'90s techno music is almost constant throughout this film.
  • The Matrix: Seeing that the movie is Cyberpunk, techno is, of course, found here, as is some actual punk. Industrial metal is also represented with Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson.
  • Johnny Mnemonic
  • Played with in the Tech Noir nightclub in The Terminator: The music is initially normal '80s pop, until the electric/metallic Leitmotif of the Terminator kicks in.
  • The Gene Generation soundtrack. Most of the music is EBM/Industrial (several songs from EBM/Industrial/Electro act Combichrist are used), and even the non-Industrial music is written by Ronan Harris from VNV Nation (a popular Futurepop act). Add the fact that the director and all the characters constantly dress as futuristic goths and you have a film that basically is one giant advertisement for the entire catalogue of Metropolis Records.
  • TRON:
    • The original film score was composed by Wendy Carlos, a pioneer in electronic music. It was not so much techno as (much like her score for A Clockwork Orange) a symphonic score with electronic sound effects and instrumentation.
    • The score to the sequel TRON: Legacy, however, was done by French house duo Daft Punk, mixing straight orchestral violins and pumping electronic beats.
    • It's a franchise staple. TRON: Uprising uses a cross of a stripped-down Legacy theme and incidental music that wouldn't be out of place in Batman Beyond. TRON: Evolution has a soundtrack very close to Legacy's, and the discredited TRON 2.0 has a soundtrack that plays like a love letter to Wendy Carlos — orchestreal arrangements on synthesizer.
  • One scene from RoboCop (1987) takes place in a club, where Robocop arrests one of Clarence Boddicker's minions. Industrial techno plays in the background. The track is "Show Me Your Spine," by Ministry side-project PTP.
  • The music in Blade Runner (by Vangelis) is not quite techno, but makes heavy use of synthesizers (except for the famous "love theme", played on a saxophone).

  • The self-styled "present-day cyberpunk" novel Dopamine intentionally invokes this trope early in the story. When Jason Tuttle meets Danny at Noc Noc to give him his mission assignment, the chapter opens on Noc Noc's techno/dubstep background noise filling the club.
  • Lynn, the main protagonist of The Bones of Time trains herself to play synth sets, in a future-set world, where she yearns to live by it, played to tourists at a Waikiki bar's rooftop.
  • Encryption Straffe features a fictional tribute band to German bitpop techno band Welle Erdball called Partikal Erdball. A synthpop theme song written for the novel is available on YouTube.
  • The William Gibson short story "Johnny Mnemonic," upon which the film was based, has a sequence where Molly fights a Yakuza on a dance floor that is programmed to create techno music based on the movements of the people dancing (or fighting) on it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Glen Larson-produced shows Battlestar Galactica (the original) and Buck Rogers only had techno synthesizer music.
  • Caprica, despite having fashions inspired by the 1950s, used a lot of techno.


    Video Games 
  • Most of the Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death soundtrack are techno songs.
  • Deus Ex: The night clubs are all techno. The music has a very dark feel to it.
  • The Longest Journey has a lot of technoheads in the cyberpunk metropolis of Newport.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: Although Battle Network is more of a Post Cyber Punk, because of its more positive view of massive networks, electronica and techno are the music of choice during the game.
    • On the other hand, given that the games appear on the Game Boy Advance system, it could very well just be Retraux 8-bit style music (a la the 8-bit Game Boy).
  • Hardwar had a soundtrack comprised of artists from the British Warp Records label, which was an eclectic mix of techno, ambient, and drum n' bass.
  • Shadowrun: Sometimes averted, Hair metal is the music of choice at times.
    • The Cyberpunk RPG sometimes averts this as well: the music of choice is "chromatic rock", which is hair metal set to techno beats (so basically industrial?), but supplements imply that hip-hop, spoken word and more stripped-down forms of rock still exist.
  • The soundtrack to San Francisco Rush 2049 is almost entirely techno.
  • Descent I and II had industrial and Industrial Metal soundtracks. The third game also has many techno and industrial tunes, along with liberal use of a Theremin and ethnic/tribal instruments.
  • The WipEout series is noted for its all-star techno soundtracks. The soundtrack to the third game was produced by well-known DJ/producer Sasha, and included his single "Xpander".
  • The adventure game Burn:Cycle is packed with a diverse techno soundtrack, ranging between hard dance tracks to atmospheric ambient music, though the game itself is mostly limited to short loops. Helps that it was composed by Simon Boswell of Hackers fame.
  • F-Zero GX has tons of techno tunes. A little polarizing since F-Zero X had nothing but rock music.
  • Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas has a techno soundtrack produced by Brian "BT" Transeau. Excluding the credits theme, which is hip-hop.
  • P.N.03, with some of it reused for Resident Evil 4's mercenaries mode (as well as the game engine). Ditto for Vanquish, its Spiritual Successor produced by the same developers.
  • In Dystopia, all music packaged with the game is techno, and a muffled techno track can be heard near a club.
  • Perfect Dark has several levels with electronica soundtracks, since the game's genre is a combination of Cyberpunk and Science Fiction.
    • Subverted in Perfect Dark Zero, where the Nightclub Stakeout music starts with a banging techno track, then changes to the disco-house tune "Limelight" (a real song by Kepi & Kat). Much of the other in-game music is rock/metal. Played straight with the intro and ending themes.
  • The soundtrack for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon by Power Glove was made as one long homage to Eighties cyberpunk and action movies with scores drawing from The Terminator, Robocop, and synthesizer scores to help invoke the tone of both while you tear up the Tron-line and cyborg filled island.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has an undeniably cyberpunk theme to go along with its purely sci-fi setting, so naturally there are quite a few ambient trance and techno tracks within the soundtrack.
  • The RAY Series.
  • Rez revolves around the player traversing through a futuristic computer network with visuals inspired by Wassily Kandinsky. Being a Rhythm Game, the soundtrack is comprised of techno and club music.
  • Quake: The original Quake was scored by Trent Reznor, although that's more dark ambient. Quake II has an Industrial Metal soundtrack by Sonic Mayhem and they co-produced Quake III: Arena''s soundtrack with the Industrial band Front Line Assembly.
  • Sensory Overload for the Macintosh, with its mind control technology-based plot, had an EBM soundtrack.
  • Sidewinder uses mostly techno, industrial, and Industrial Metal.
  • Contra: Shattered Soldier features techno and industrial metal produced by Sota Fujimori and Akira Yamaoka.
  • Raiden III is somewhat of a musical odd man out in the series, as much of the soundtrack is techno, except for the Stage 1, 2, and 3 themes, which are the usual J-synthpop.
  • Vegas Stakes, a casino game by HAL Laboratory for the SNES, has the "2020", a futuristic, Cyberpunk-themed casino complete with repetitive techno music blaring in the background.
  • Played with in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, which is undeniably cyberpunk, but accompanied mostly by a sort of techno/light jazz fusion. The straight-up techno elements are also heavier in Snake's chapter; Raiden's has more of a jungle slant, until returning to techno right at the very end when everything goes to hell.
  • Averted with Beneath a Steel Sky—despite being cyberpunk-themed, it has mostly traditional-sounding tunes, the one nightclub plays jazz, and the cyberspace level's theme has a surreal New Age-y feel.
  • Spectre VR, being set in Cyberspace, has the obligatory techno and industrial tunes, but also New Age and neo-classical music.
  • Syndicate, although the 2012 reboot uses Dubstep as well.
  • The X series uses an electronic music score and has several aspects of the Cyberpunk setting.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Aside from being Darker and Edgier, Mass Effect 2 gave us a dose of this trope with the Afterlife nightclub on Omega, an old and rickety space station that's practically the capital of the galactic underworld. The upper section plays a slow electronic piece (Callista from Saki Kaskas) while the lower section has Drum and Bass (Techno Madness from Jesse Allen). Too bad you don't get to start a fight here...
  • Club 32 in Syphon Filter 2 plays disco music during the cutscene preceding the mission, but the action music is drum & bass. The first two games also have many other techno tunes.
  • The Time Crisis clone Endgame had a pumping techno soundtrack to compliment its virtual reality world domination plot.
  • WinBack: Covert Operations uses techno for its opening sequence and boss battles.
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed uses techno remixes of the original NES soundtrack. By contrast, the soundtrack to the Darker and Edgier 2009 sequel is mostly orchestra, although there are still a few electronica pieces.
  • Blacklight Retribution: The game's soundtrack is a mix of Techno and dubstep music.
  • SimCity expansion pack Cities of Tomorrow toys with this trope. Most of the default music tracks are fairly atmospheric and minimalistic to begin with, but once futurization occurs, a lot of of the instrumentation is replaced with synthesizers... Which in a way, make the music sound more akin to Blade Runner... Even using some of the same synthesizer sounds!
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has a symphonic electronica soundtrack by Hybrid and Tom Salta.
  • Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere has a decidedly electro, techno, synth and ambience bent to its soundtrack. It is also the only entry that takes place in a cyberpunk future world. Later entries would return to the relatively "real" era of mid 90s to late 2010s.
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd II: ASSimilation, the music tracks for the Area 52 levels sound like a fusion of EBM and spacesynth.
  • Mirror's Edge and Mirror's Edge Catalyst, both set in dystopian cyberpunk police states, feature ambient electronica and techno composed by Swedish artist Solar Fields.
  • While StarCraft is more of a Space Opera, Terrans have an industrial theme to their music. However, in II, one song has a fiddle solo to accentuate their "Space Hillbillies'' vibe.
  • The Jet Moto trilogy used mainly Surf Rock and Heavy Metal for the first two installments, but went full-on techno with the third, which featured three songs licensed from Juno Reactor.
  • Kinetica, like Wipeout before it, features a plethora of licensed techno songs from renowned artists such as Amoeba Assassin, Hybrid, Juno Reactor, and Way Out West.
  • All three installments of Vector Unit's Riptide GP trilogy have techno soundtracks.
  • Llamasoft's Polybius, a psychedelic VR shooter inspired by the arcade urban legend, has an electronica soundtrack by an ensemble of artists in various sub-genres, including techno, industrial, trance, house, big beat, D&B, and synthwave.
  • Every trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 has utilized Electronic Music of some kind, the most famous one being the hard glitchy track "Spoiler" by Hyper. The game itself, however, has a more varied soundtrack of rock, hyperpop, and Hip-Hop alongside electronic music, with Johnny Silverhand's band Samurai playing straight-up hard rock rather than electronic music.
  • The soundtrack of Ghostrunner follows the same path as Cyberpunk 2077 above, courtesy of Daniel Deluxe.
  • Furi's score likewise features techno, EBM, and synthwave produced by a lineup of renowned artists including Carpenter Brut, Danger, The Toxic Avenger and Waveshaper.

    Visual Novels 

  • Discussed in Aqua Regia, in which the heroes talk about the music they listen, Daniel states that he loves Thrash Metal while Nimsi states that she likes industrial, in a... much more quiet tone.
    • The flashback also mentions their music taste, but between Anahí and Daniel, and it's implied they hit off after talking about Punk rock and metal.

    Western Animation 
  • Almost the entire soundtrack of Batman Beyond is dirty industrial rock.
  • The MIB cartoon theme is sort of a techno/hip hop hybrid.