Journalist, techno organizer, lecturer, and creative director Dan Sicko has sadly passed away this weekend, the victim of the rare but devastating condition of ocular melanoma. Sicko is best known to electronic music fans as the author of the terrific Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk (Billboard: 1999). A uniquely techno-focused story, that book is a particularly good tome on the underground roots of the techno genre.

But Sicko contributed more than just that book, as a music writer (Rolling Stone, Wired, Urb), and a lecturer on Detroit music culture, as well as a fixture on the techno music scene and a key figure in the appreciation of its music. He had worked as a Creative Director with the Detroit office of Organic, Inc.

He also launched Reverb, one of the first digital music magazines – distributed on floppy disks and FTP sites, even this site owes something to its legacy. (I can relate: I ran an early e-publishing effort on CompuServe at around the same time. If anyone can find copies of Reverb…)

As reader Klaas-Jan Jongsma notes, in passing us the news:

Besides being a friend of mine, he was always willing to help people who visited Detroit (I stayed at his place a couple of times when we visited Detroit) he was a major influence on scene. He wrote with so much passion about music for several magazines, blogs and newspaper. He was also one of the driving forces between the 313 mailinglist (an essential mailinglist, especially in the 90s about Detroit techno). He was one of those unknown forces behind detroit techno, a true techno rebel.

Mr. Sicko has left behind many digital footprints, right up through this month; if you didn’t know his work, retracing them can introduce you to some great music. A few examples:

Moodmat contributions, Metromode

The [313] mailing list

Personal website

Twitter feed

Most importantly, though, you should pick up a copy of his book if you haven’t. There are still more thoughts on that site, including a response to the May NPR roundup of Detroit music picks with his own suggested gems. He leaves behind an extraordinary set of resources for those wanting to learn more about this music, and records to spin in his honor. Sincere condolences to friends and family.

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