Review : Plastikman - Arkives
ContactmusicRichie Hawtin is one of those iconic figures in electronic music culture/folklore who inspires almost religious devotion, having been one of the pioneers of the second wave of Detroit techno at the beginning of the 1990's. Born in Oxfordshire but relocating with his parents to Windsor, Ontario in the late seventies, Hawtin was introduced to the likes of Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk by his boffin father and subsequently went on to co-found the much venerated Plus 8 label, recording solo as F.U.S.E and latterly, Plastikman.
Named after a piece of DJ equipment which was used to speed up the tempo of more laid back house records to greater extremity for the rave generation, +8 would go on to create a notable legacy, releasing the likes of Final Exposure's Vortex and Circuit Breaker's Overkill. As the story goes Hawtin was at Rotterdam club witnessing in person the results of his label's flight-to-hardcore on a crowd of gabba enthusiasts when the brutality and sheer tribalism of the audience reacting to his music prompted a change of direction. Cue Plastikman.
Since the moniker's 1993 debut album Sheet One - the cover of which so accurately depicted an acid blotter that a man was arrested by the Texas police when they found it on the front seat of his car - Hawtin has swapped hyperextended beats for a more dextrous minimalism. Producing five studio albums since then, the lure of DJ'ing and side projects such as composing a piece for the Winter Olympics in Turin's opening ceremony appeared to signal a lack of interest, but the seven year hiatus since 2003's Closer was finally plugged this year by the reimaginings of Kompilation....full text
VirginRichie Hawtin alter-ego Plastikman releases Arkives, a minimal techno record with a difference - this review even compares Plastikman to Neil Young...
Plastikman may seem antiquated to many, given the fact that Richie Hawtin hasnít gone under the moniker since 2003. But thatís sort of the point. Heís brushed the dust off and this year has returned to the stage under the Plastikman guise. The benefit of a good compilation (which ĎArkivesí most definitely is) is that one can re-assess the artistís career in sequence, in situ and in context.
Plastikmanís minimal yet weighty techno was somewhat out of step at the time. His preference for using old school synths and Roland 808s made him at odds with his contemporaries; almost out of date. His über lean fusion of Detroit techno and acid house was poles apart from the rise of popular mid 90ís movements such as trip hop, drum ní bass or dance musicís flirtations with the charts. But when much of that sounded cluttered, this bare to the bone approach has meant that Plastikmanís output, unlike many, has aged incredibly gracefully primarily because it already sounded not of itís time.
Itís not what is heard but what is suggested. If you listen close enough you can hear the likes of Tangerine Dream or Cluster & Eno in the soundscape. There is also the ever-prevalent nod of the hat to Kraftwerk, in that the less, by virtue, is absolutely more.
Re-appraising this music also draws to light the fact that though it punches well above its weight in a club setting it also shines through as headphone music too. The incendiary ĎSpastikí, with its minimal acid lines, still holds up as a suitable call to arms as it did when it announced Plastikman to the world back in 1993. Indeed, if it were not for Plastikman the contemporary techno scene would sound markedly different. Hawtin has, to put it bluntly, achieved the rare task of transcending his influences whilst reversing his inspirations back at the source....full text
UrbRichie Hawtin has been working overtime doing press to try to sell his return to the Plastikman persona that made him famous in the mid-í90s. But like everythign else in the world of Hawtin, he does it best when he does it on his own, which is why this 10 minute video interview of Hawtin discussing the upcoming Arkives boxset has us more excited (and actually considering dropping the loot) than any of the other promotion weíve seen. Or maybe weíre just nostalgic because weíre back in the D for the holidays and remeber when half the vintage photos in this clip were taken....full text
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