Plastikman EX (Performed Live at the Guggenheim NYC) Mute
This might be one of the final straws for those that held Richie Hawtin and his Plastikman guise in the highest darkest reverence in techno’s pantheon of overlords.
Created for a live performance, EX captures a one-off visual spectacle at the Guggenheim and is another example of Hawtin’s constant need to have some kind of “other aspect” to accompany the music. It’s this that is becoming one of the most tiresome things about his output. From an entrepreneurial rather than a conceptual point of view, Enter – his night in Ibiza – is clearly a huge success. But for those wanting to listen to some fresh music from Hawtin, EX feels like an appeaser, in that it sounds completely inauthentic, a selection of productions designed for a moment that none of us attended.
EX certainly feels cohesive, though this might be primarily due to the seamless weaving of the tracks in its live enviornment with opening track EXposed being a fine example of how slow minimalism can engage and draw you in. Rather than being overbearing, the techno is slow and peaks on penultimate track EXpire when the gurgling comes fully out of the shadows in full futuristic synth and rumbling bassline glory. But to be honest, the overarching feel of the record is – dare we say – a tad lazy. A middle-ground record no one wanted, yet there’s a hint at why we should stick with him after he’s finished fannying around in his Ibizan Sake Bar.