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Name: Richie Hawtin
Music Style: Techno
Outlar-Listed Events: 8 (Rank #61)
Outlar Cross-references: Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Daniel Bell, John Acquaviva, Robert Hood, Underground Resistance, Speedy J, Ricardo Villalobos, Crazy P, Kenny Larkin, Kraftwerk, Leo Belchetz, Mark Forshaw, People Get Real, Thomas Melchior, Tristan Watkins, Brendan Long, Aphex Twin, Tyler Stadius, Kirk Degiorgio, Optimo, Patrice Bäumel, Spencer Parker, Rebekah, Konrad Black, Mike Holmes, Magda, Vitalic, Glimpse, Steve Shiels, Octave One, Troy Pierce, Stefan Goldmann, "Mad" Mike Brown, Scott Lewis, Steve Bug, BLEN, Dubfire, Paul McShane, Paul Ritch, Rhadoo, Paco Osuna, Praslea, Matt Tolfrey, Jon Rundell
Richie Hawtin Intro:
is dreaming of the future again. More than 15 years after he began exploring new frontiers in electronic dance music, he is redefining the idea of what a DJ can be. From his stark techno tracks on the Plus-8 label to the spectral acid minimalism of his releases as Plastikman, Hawtin has always been, as he puts it, "searching for what's next". Now his new mix album, DE9: Transitions, has made another quantum leap of the imagination.
DE9: Transitions has been realised in 5.1 surround sound, using the latest recording techology to create an immersive sonic experience: 95 minutes of altered perception. Hawtin has used Abelton Live and DigiDesign ProTools software to strip apart then reassemble his component tracks to make completely new compositions, combining multiple elements simultaneously into a constantly shifting collage of sound.
Technique aside, DE9: Transitions is an powerful and compelling trip.
This is the third in the DE9 series which began in 1999 with the fiery, angular rhythms of Decks, EFX & 909 – reflecting Hawtin's DJ sets using drum machines and effects as well as records – and continued in 2001 with the kinetic loop frenzy of DE9: Closer to the Edit. Over that period, he has refined his use of advanced technology to liberate himself from the more mundane tasks that DJs have to perform, enabling him to produce something that's far more richly-textured than the sound of needle on spinning vinyl.
Vinyl fundamentalists might, he agrees, regard this as heresy. Even the superstar DJs of the international party circuit who've largely abandoned vinyl for more easily-portable CDs have gone nowhere near this far. Hawtin, typically, sees it as an opportunity: "The progressive people are thinking, if computer technologies automate one task, what can I now do better or what new task can I focus my attention on?" he says. "That's the big question behind all the DE9 CDs – what can I do now with the technology and how can I push in a new direction to further the experimentation and heighten the experience?"
DE9: Transitions combines everything from original Hawtin productions to unreleased tracks straight from the studios of cutting-edge producers like Ricardo Villalobos
, Marc Houle, Daniel Bell
, Alex Under et al and adds flashes of classic techno moments including Robert Hood
, K. Alexi, Sahko, Pan Sonic etc which inspired him when he was a young clubber. But most of the tracks are fundamentally transformed from their original states. Some fade in and out over a period of minutes, others are reduced to one single sampled note. The on-screen read-out on the DVD version of DE9: Transitions illustrates that its smoothly shape-shifting outline, this is a remarkable complex project. In fact the tracks are so close to becoming entirely new compositions that Hawtin has made the decision to give them his own names.
Hawtin was born in Banbury, England in 1970, but at the age of nine, his family moved to Windsor, Canada; just over the river from Detroit, the birthplace of techno. His father – a robotics technician at General Motors, fittingly – introduced him to Kraftwerk
, Tangerine Dream and other early computer music, and it was somehow inevitable that he would become infected with the techno virus. He began to DJ in Detroit clubs like Shelter at the age of 17, mixing house and techno with European post-industrial electronic body music by the likes of Front 242, and even had his own show on a Detroit radio station. He started the Plus-8 label with fellow Canadian DJ John Acquaviva
in 1990, releasing his own tracks – initially as FUSE – alongside those of producers like Speedy J
and Kenny Larkin
. Along with Underground Resistance
, Plus-8 had a huge impact, launching the second wave of Detroit techno, just as its originators – Juan Atkins
, Derrick May
, and Kevin Saunderson
– became global stars.
His subsequent albums as Plastikman and his Concept series of 12-inch releases helped to take the genre one step further in the mid-1990s. Hawtin had, by this time, established himself as one of techno's leading innovators, a reputation cemented by his mix CDs. In 2003, after leaving Canada to spend a year in New York, he moved to Berlin – which has been the world's second techno city since the fall of the Wall opened up creative spaces in derelict buildings left abandoned by the march of history. It's an environment he's found genuinely inspiring.
Hawtin has sometimes been portrayed as some kind of scientist-intellectual figure within techno culture, partly because of his innovative use of music technology. And yet there's also something of the night about him. Berlin has amplified that, too. "I think I'm a little crazier now, perhaps I've let my hair down," he says (with a grin). "I've been dancing a lot, listening a lot, going to Crazy P
arties with a bunch of really good friends – being part of the scene and really enjoying what I'm hearing."
Hawtin was the force behind some truly twisted warehouse parties in the Detroit area in the 1990s, until a local clampdown cooled the ardour. He now does his own club nights in Berlin, although much of his time is taken up crossing continents to play anywhere from 10,000-strong raves to tiny sweatboxes for 300 people. He says that what he's seen on his endless travels suggests that any pronouncement of the death of dance music is seriously premature.
The Plus-8 label still releases records sporadically, but Hawtin's main label now is Minus, the nurturing environment for a new generation of minimalist techno composers and DJs. He has also done a number of projects which fall well outside the traditional role of the club DJ, such as the music he's composed for a choreographed piece which will form part of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin next year.
Hawtin talks a lot about experimenting, but it would be incorrect to characterise him purely as some kind of electronic lab technician. What he does has a sharply defined purpose: "It would be so easy to make something so extreme and so out-there that people would say it was crazy and experimental, but they wouldn't really like it," he says. "As much as I like experimenting and pushing forward, I also like partying, so I'm always trying to find a way to communicate my furthest-out ideas in a way people can comprehend at this moment. It's forward thinking and futuristic but it's not far-fetched."
He concludes with a phrase that sums up his mission: "I want to entertain people, but I want to take them somewhere they've never been before."
Past Richie Hawtin Events ( 7 Listed )
Saturday 27th August 2005 (8 Years Ago) - Creamfields 2005|
Basement Jaxx, Faithless, Audio Bullys, Cagedbaby, Richie Hawtin, Yousef, Jazzy Jeff, Roni Size, Andy C, Felix Da Housecat, Jon Carter, Justin Robertson, Touché, Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk,...
Richie Hawtin in 2002...
Saturday 24th August 2002 (11 Years Ago) - Creamfields 2002|
Faithless, Underworld, Bob Jeffries, Dirty Vegas, Mis-Teeq, Moony, 2 Many DJs, Audio Bullys, Dave Clarke, Grandmaster Flash, James Holroyd, Jon Carter, Justin Robertson, Layo & Bushwacka, Richie Ha...
Richie Hawtin in 1999...
Friday 26th March 1999 (14 Years Ago) - Bugged Out @ Nation|
The Cassius Mix, Richie Hawtin (Dex, EFX & 909), Roger Sanchez, Dave Clarke, James Lavelle, Jon Carter, Dave Chambers, James Holroyd, Rob Bright, Richard Hector-Jones
Richie Hawtin in 1995...
Richie Hawtin in 1994...
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