AAC (Hi-Quality) (44k)
MP3 (56k | 128k)
by: Zero Sharp

After nearly five years of silence, Richie Hawtin's minimal side-project, Plastikman, unexpectedly is seeing another release. "Closer," the fifth for Plastikman, doesn't really visit too much new ground, however, for those fans of minimal techno, there are few who can equal him. One of the things that people have been yammering over is the decision to include his own voice on the record, albeit in a vocoded, pitch-shifted kind of way. Sadly, both the cliched way he chose to do it and the lyrics he chose do their best to detract from otherwise solid music. The tracks are, in general, beautifully crafted with a grace that brings each and every sound to the forefront as it unfolds from the soundscapes. I use that word in particular as many of the tracks here bend much more to the soundscape edge than anything that would touch the dancefloor.

The album starts with the track "Ask Yourself." Cheesy vocals samples aside, the synth lines set a dark, stark mood brilliantly. The first beat doesn't even happen until the fourth minute into the track, and it's not particularly missed. "Lost" also continues the theme of just dark soundscapes where the sparse sounds command the space they are receiving. "Disconnect" is another example of a beautiful track, made predominantly interesting by interweaving sounds of a tone smeared up and down the scale and a simple bass line. Unfortunately vocals that would make any sixteen year old goth proud are also present here, distracting from how good the track is. "Ping Pong" is one of the most rhythmically interesting tracks on the album; two slightly out of phase drum lines run the show as an occasional sounds flutter in and out between them. At moments in the ten minute excursion, everything mystically comes together, giving the most danceable moments on "Closer." From "Ping Pong" on, the pieces tend to lean more toward the beats, giving an experience a little closer to the older Plastikman work, with "I don't know" and "Mind Rewind" standing out as well-made more club-oriented tracks. Although there are better places to start if people want to see where all this Plastikman hype is from, "Closer" does stand up as a solid listen. If you're looking for some good, new, minimal techno, then I would recommend this CD.


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