Richie Hawtin - Concept 1 96
Thu 13th Mar, 2008 Music Reviewsin
Concept 1 was originally a series of 24 limited edition 12” singles released over a 12 month period in 1996 on Richie Hawtin’s own label Minus Records. Initially limited to just 2000 copies per release, the tracks were rereleased in 1998 as a compilation CD, and now the collection is given new life thanks to the unique interpretation by Cologne’s Thomas Brinkmann.
The Canadian born, now Berlin based producer and DJ needs little introduction; his pioneering ways have ensured he’s regarded as one of the electronic music scene’s leading luminaries, and with the resurgence of minimal sounds it’s no wonder that Hawtin has decided to release this collection once again. Hawtin’s career has found another peak of late too, and this new CD creates the opportunity for these tracks to be heard by a wider audience than ever before. Prior to’98, Brinkmann actually visited Hawtin to play him some of his variations of Concept 1 tracks. Using a self made turntable with a 30kilo plate and two SME 309 tone arms, Ortofon and Van Den Hul moving coil pickups, Brinkmann uncovered new structures, unheard dynamics and hidden sounds that had been disguised or inaudible in Hawtin’s original material, thus a good reason to release this bonus package was born.
By slowing down the speed of the original records and using the left pick up arm or the left channel and the right pick up arm for the right channel, Brinkmann found it’s possible to hear a melodic displacement between the channels. Even the imperfections of the vinyl pressing find a character within his variations. Thanks to Brinkmann’s unique alternative viewpoint, attention to detail and experimentation, Hawtin’s tracks find a new groove. Brinkmann perhaps sums it up best himself as “Richie’s DNA with a little mutation”.
Disc one features 15 of Hawtin’s original tracks, a soundtrack of meandering minimal bleeps and blips, computerised atmospherics, aquatic squelches, electric twitters, echoic emptiness, metallic elements and a good deal of experimental sounds, just as relevant now and in their time. Fragments, epics and everything in between, Hawtin’s rhythmic stomping techno aesthetic takes a back seat here, apart from just a few tracks where there are the bare remnants of a few four-four beats. On disc two, Brinkmann’s 8 re-workings, bring a similar feel and aesthetic, but take a slightly more rhythmic, mechanical, broken beat approach. Hawtin and Brinkmann paint a unique interpretation of time and space, a surrealist modernist industrial dreamscape, techno’s answer to relaxation music!