Sunday, October 18, 2009

plastikman - artifakts (bc) (1998)

plastikman is probably the most well-known production alias for minimal techno guru richie hawtin. there has been some recent buzz that, six years after the frighteningly introverted album closer, richie will be starting a new plastikman project, and he has reached out to his fans to help shape what happens next. seeing richie's m-nus record label showcase here in chicago last year really turned me on to live electronic dance music, but it's his desperately minimal yet disturbingly atmospheric plastikman productions that i'll always hold dear to my heart.

artifakts (bc) was the first plastikman album i listened to; actually it is a compilation of tracks made "before consumed" - the next proper album - hence the (bc) in the title. the album starts with the appropriately-titled "korridor," which spends five minutes ushering you into a dark, beat-less atmosphere of sustained synth tones and a repeated acid 'melody.'

the album mainly alternates between epic, 10+ minute compositions combining percussion and 303 acid lines richie was so good at creating, and drum machine workouts like "hypokondriak" and "skizofrenik." atmospheric effects - both sustained synth melodies as well as ominous washes of sound (and maybe some heavily processed vocal samples) - are dispersed throughout these 'artifakts.' i could write about plastikman forever, but i'll just say my favorite song on this album is "pakard," the slowest moving of the epics here. as simple as the concept sounds, things are always changing, shifting, moving in and out of focus. fittingly, the album ends with a tripped-out conversation between some ravers.

hopefully you're intrigued enough to check this album out. richie was and is a true innovator of the electronic music, and to me, the simplicity of his music is reason for its timeless quality. i hope he can get himself back into this headspace for the next chapter of plastikman. until then, find this album!

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