Plastikman Closer

It’s been so long since Richie Hawtin’s last put out a Plastikman album, that some of us had just assumed he’d quit music for DJing and Final Scratch. With Closer, the Windsor native is thankfully back to tech-minimalism, albeit in a direction that’s radically distinct from Consumed and all previous Plastikman outings. For reasons undisclosed, Hawtin has suddenly rediscovered his voice. Well, it’s not really "his” voice once it’s been pitched-shifted a few octaves down and hollowed out with reverb, but it still marks a controversial departure from the Plastikman signature for disembodied and spatially smart sound art. A lot of Hawtin’s lyrics are badly written monologues that assume the voice of God but come off more like a parody of Morpheus from The Matrix. In other words, it’s the pretentiousness of being philosophically conscious, but not really having any literacy in such matters. This comes out particularly strong in chants like "disconnect/disconnect/disconnect/my brain” and the declarations of "I hear everything/I know everything/I feel everything/I am everything.” Hawtin’s attempt to create a more visible personality for Plastikman may have failed, but what remains appealing about Closer is his control over the mix. The tracks move with a nonlinear flow. Simple chords settle on a low-attack and handclaps bristle with fragments of white noise. The beats are funky, but completely unlike any funk you’ve heard before. Techniques like this make Closer a worthwhile listen, even if it’s not Plastikman’s best. (M_nus)