Published Jun 04, 2011As the main hall of Montreal's Metropolis crowded in anticipation, two horizontal red lines appeared on a semi-circular black screen at the front of an otherwise dark auditorium. The lines started to slowly move on the screen, like the lights on Kit, the talking car from Knight Rider. A brief blast of static noise erupted and the beats started filtering in. Momentarily the screen revealed Plastikman -- Canada's techno wunderkind Richie Hawtin -- in silhouette standing at his equipment looking otherworldly and almost alien. The second track was 2003's "Ask Yourself," featuring Hawtin's pitched-lowered spoken parts, which lent an even more sinister air to the proceedings and made the audience feel as if it was facing not a stage set but Big Brother from George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. The set consisted of a lot of old Plastikman favourites, keeping the sound satisfyingly retro and minimal, much to the pleasure of the crowd that was dancing from the front of the stage, right to back of the bar. The pairing of Plastikman's dark and minimal Detroit sound with the sinister stage setup was just perfect, and the main set drew to a close with electric blue vertical lines filling the screen, animated like a giant zoetrope. This hugely impressive audiovisual set had originally been planned for MUTEK in 2004, so it must have been cathartic for Hawtin to finally realize this in such perfect fashion and to an overwhelming response from the audience. As one of the most anticipated events at this year's MUTEK, it went beyond the high expectations.
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