Plastikman - Closer

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Ten years on and a five-year hiatus for Richie Hawtin’s Plastikman moniker, previous works have all been nothing but class, and Closer is no exception. The music put forth on this album is said to bring you closer to the creator but it definitely put me in an unknown mental distance. So abstract sometimes that I have had to re-listen to this CD more than a few times to appreciate its aesthetic.

On first listen, I was rather taken aback by its introverted and twisted beats, as opposed to the earlier Plastikman works, Closer is a lot more darker, less dancefloor friendly and very very atmospheric. It really makes you wonder about the headspace of this musical genius.

The first track on the CD is called ‘Ask Yourself’, the vocal is dark and unclear the beat is slow and hypnotising, I think this is the first time that Richie has used vocals in his work, and it almost feels like he is giving himself to the listener just a little too much? Music for the psyche that makes you a bit uneasy with what you are listening to and somewhat uncertain in your surroundings.

Once a futurist always a futurist.

‘Mind Encode’ is the second track on the CD and it continues to go down the atmospheric path of darkness and vagueness. I don’t really know if I like how this album makes me feel, I found it to be just a little too solemn and eerie at times, even to the point where if it was late at night and I had it on, I found myself hitting the stop button. Melancholy? Haunting? Misplaced? One thing is for certain, the sounds were quite powerful, whether the emotions that were being felt were pleasant or not is a different story altogether.

Disconnect was more pleasant, the familiar humming bass and vocals about “disconnecting my brain” were something that I could definitely relate to. ‘Slow Poke’ is a minimal delight, a dubby bass sequence with a quirky array of sounds placed in the music atmosphere to create a “thick” textured “slow poke”.

By the time the album reached ‘Headcase’ there is no doubt in my disorientated mind that Richie wanted to cause a bit of confusion in the listeners, either that or this is exactly the headspace of Plastikman’s creator;)

Ok stop. Hold that thought. When you get to the final track aptly named ‘I don’t know’, things seem to go back to “normal” whatever “normal” maybe when Richie Hawtin is concerned. The last tune is a lot more reminiscent of the Plastikman sound that we remember, the sound of the 303 eventually shows itself, and gives a bit of relief through familiarity to the listener.

I am in two (or three or four) minds about this album; maybe that is what Hawtin set out to do? Whether it makes you feel a little dark, sad or on edge, one thing is certain, the production is immaculate and emotion is strongly conveyed. For me this is probably the most important thing when listening to an album of such personal reflection (of the artist). An artist who I hold in very high regards. It was a peculiar pleasure to get that extra bit Closer to him.

Closer is also available in a triple vinyl pack, with a limited selection of tracks from the CD.

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