Album Review: Plastikman | Arkives + MP3

M_Nus Records

tech•no \tek-nõ\ n + chill•out \ chil-aût \ vb

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine: TOC | Plastikman

It’s hard to imagine Richie Hawtin as a wide-eyed kid from Windsor, Canada, growing up just across the Detroit River from techno’s birthplace. Now Hawtin, with his signature space-age eyewear, is revered in the DJ world. This past Memorial Day he was worshipped by ravers young and old at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, headlining the same stages as his earliest influences, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson. And while lately he’s most recognized by his own name, his Plastikman guise was the center of attention that night back in May.

Hawtin has recorded under more than ten aliases, but Plastikman is undoubtedly the most prolific. His M_nus label is releasing this massive retrospective chronicling his output between 1993 and 2003—his most productive period. Arkives gathers all six of his studio albums and is available as 11 CDs, six LPs or, for the completist, a combination of the two. Each comes with oodles of extras and takes listeners deep into a golden era of techno, when Hawtin was rewriting the rules for the music, and how people partied to it.

Elastic, spare, haunting, deeply melodic and often ambient, Hawtin’s output as Plastikman presented a stark contrast to the rolling thunder drums-and-bass bombast of most of that era’s techno. A wizard with a Roland 303, the quintessential studio synth of the time, he was freaking acid basslines like no one else had before. Weaving them with stark drum lines and washes of ambient tones, Hawtin introduced the world to minimal. His profile expanded exponentially once people caught wind of what it was like when this guy threw a party. Forget the glowsticks and Technicolor garb; a Plastikman night was dark, loud and sweaty.

Armed with this impressive release, all you need is a strobe light, some black paper for your walls and a handful of pills spanning the colors of the rainbow and you can re-create the no-frills sound and spectacle of Plastikman’s now legendary all-nighters.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

To help big up this massive release, Richie sat down for this interview to help paint the picture of all that Arkives encompasses.

And here's a recent promo MP3 that includes a Moby remix, just to help get you all salivating for more from one of techno's biggest names.


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