Richie Hawtin has been at the forefront of electronic dance music for over 20 years and is celebrating his Plus 8 label’s double century and his Minus label’s 100th release with an incredible, high-tech mega-package collecting 17 years of recordings under his volcanic, epoch-making Plastikman persona.
Hawtin is one of electronic music’s most relentless innovators, profoundly affected as a teenager in the late 80s by crazed nights cavorting to the likes of Derrick May at the booming, strobe-lit sweat-box of Detroit’s seminal Music Institute, which inspired him to set up Plus 8 Records with his friend John Aquaviva in May, 1990 [Possibly the world’s longest-running electronic dance label]. After making an acid-drenched splash under names such as F.U.S.E., Hawtin attacked 1993 with the cataclysmic, electro death-rattle of Spastik; first offensive by his new alter-ego Plastikman.
Using little more than overheating drum machines, seismic analogue rumbles and a 303 he seemed able to make sing, Hawtin redefined acid house and turned techno upside down, mixing warped, mind-fuck malevolence with intricate sonic micro-surgery. Signing for the UK with Novamute, further singles such as Krakpot were followed by that year’s Sheet One debut, sparking controversy with its replica acid blotter CD insert, but displaying a mind-bending new techno blueprint, consolidated on the soaring acid monoliths and robo-insect weirdness of the following year‘s Musik, taken to cavernous outer limits on 1998’s Consumed [spiced along the way by the Recycled Plastik and Artifakts [B.C.] sets].
After starting Minus in 1998, Hawtin’s immersion in rapidly-evolving new technology further honed the Plastikman sound, but now releasing records under his own name to define what became known as minimal; an exploding new movement by the time Plastikman returned with 2003’s Closer. He reactivated his immensely popular alter-ego on the stage earlier this year, presenting the most senses-blasting live dance experience yet conceived [but still built on the crazed euphoria of the Music Institute].
Rummaging in his deepest vaults, Hawtin has corralled 17 years of Plastikman material into one limited collectors’ edition for Minus’ 100th release, manufactured to pre-orders before December 31 [a few in stores in February]. Arkive comes in four different formats: Reference boasts 11 CDs comprising Plastikman’s six albums remastered, plus plus five further CDs. Rekonstructions gathers Hawtin’s hard-to-find remixes for the likes of New Order and Depeche Mode; Replikants features remixes by heroes and contemporaries, including Vince Clarke, X-Press 2, Dubfire, Francois K, Moby, Chris & Cosey, even Mute boss Daniel ‘The Normal’ Miller. Sessions includes the creation of Spastik and 1994 Peel session, Nolstalgik consists of vinyl rarities, while Arkives presents album out-takes. There’s also the Optik DVD of videos and live footage, plus 64-page book telling the Plastikman story, bolstered by newly-unearthed memorabilia. Analog consists of the six albums on 180-gram vinyl, while Digital is the download version. Komplete is the tour-de-force monster, combining Reference and Analog with bonus downloads, poster [and signed Christmas card with further music if ordered before November 24]. Even the promo features two boxed CDs of highlights.
Hawtin hopes this historic project, ‘is an inspiring and interesting journey for everyone who becomes part of it… . It's a whole experience.’ But it’s never been anything less for this unassuming, party-loving genius who has just consolidated himself as the foremost electronic artist blowing minds in the world today.
More exclusive extracts on next Wednesday’s Needsy & Hutchfever’s Richie Hawtin special.
Further details: www.plastikman.com/arkives