tue 25/06/2019

CD: Plastikman - EX | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Plastikman - EX

CD: Plastikman - EX

Richie Hawtin returns with an electronic classic

Plastikman: less is more

Plastikman's return filled many a techno geek with trepidation. DJ Richie Hawtin’s alter-person toured a spectacular live show in 2010, successfully proving he could hold his own in a world ruled by Skrillex, Tiesto et al, but there hasn’t been a new album since the wonky, pitched down, vocoder’n’cyborg grind of Closer in 2003. Since then Hawtin has gone from being a boys’ own techno totem to a bona fide superstar DJ. In holier-than-thou “underground” clubland his ambivalence about EDM, his working with Deadmau5, his audaciously huge Ibizan ENTER extravaganza, all apparently added up to “selling out”, whatever that means.

Plastikman’s body of work, beginning with 1993’s twitchy, lysergic Sheet One, a definitive electronic album of the Nineties, displayed a unique ability to make very little sound very much. Over the years Hawtin has worked with minimalist sonic building blocks to create something imaginative, fascinating, abstract and richly enjoyable, but when the news arrived that his new album was composed for and recorded at a special one-off performance at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, amidst talk of art, architecture and moving on, there was a fear that this might be an emperor’s new clothes moment, a journey into cerebral chill-out or similar.

All wrong. You’ve seen the five stars so you know where this is heading. For those who enjoy proper post-acid house electronica, from Orbital then to Daniel Avery now, this is a monster, a classic. The tracks all have titles beginning with “EX” - “EXposed”, “EXtend”, “EXpand”, etc - but they all meld into one extraordinary hour of ear pleasure. It flows from bleepy, pinging, echoing, space cadet territory to massive symphonic, rattling stadium explosions. Drums and percussion appear and disappear, never with intrusive thump, never too fast, ebbing in and out to holistic effect. It’s hard to describe it without drifting into pretentiousness. An almost certainly ersatz analogue sound is polished to a digital sheen and, while there’s little to throw adjectives at, it’s a rich, warm, epic sonic odyssey that loudly tells doubters Plastikman has mutated again and his sixth studio album is ablaze with excellence. Or possibly EXcellence.

EX will be physically available from 14th July, including a limited edition SubPac version that its makers say is enhanced, with additional bass. In the meantime it's available for download here, here, here, and here,

Overleaf: listen to Plastikman's new album in its entirety

For those who enjoy proper post-acid house electronica, from Orbital then to Daniel Avery now, this is a monster, a classic


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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