Thursday, October 23, 2003

Review - Closer

Artist: Plastikman

Posted on Thu, Oct 23, 2003 at 4:00 AM

If breakbeat echoes the frenetic pace of a neurotic modern world, then Richie Hawtin's output as Plastikman is its autistic, ambient-dub twin. Focused not on the rush of the day but its subtextual tones, the music is obsessed by the steady pulse of a dripping faucet, like the underlying circadian rhythm of life. The subtle shifting sands of his compositions recall minimalists such as Steve Roach or Vidna Obmana; tracks are built on basic rhythmic figures and quiet, nomadic motifs with gentle insistence and grace that's nearly subdural. Lean like a bulimic, Hawtin drew strongly from the Detroit techno scene for the undercurrent of his initial acid-house style, but he's moved steadily away from that sound into echo-chamber isolationism that throbs like a heartbeat. "Headcase" glugs along, plopping like water coming out of a two-gallon milk jug, while above it the synth bleats intermittently like the flashing light of a traffic barricade. Heavily distorted vocals sounding like a sedated, aphasic death metal singer are featured on several cuts, including the strangely infectious click of "Disconnect." "Closer" is the sound of the city as it winds down in the hours before dawn breaks.

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