03 December 2004


Last week, whilst hailing the mighty FUSE, I made some off-hand derogatory comment about Richie Hawtin's more famous alter-ego, Plastikman. But then I realised that I hadn't actually heard any new Plastikman tunes since buying the second album "Muzik", way back in 1994. The ultra-minimal acidic tekno on that record just wore me down and turned me off his stuff. But then I thought, maybe it'll sound fresh ten years on. So I gave 'em a spin. Some tracks, like the 12 inch "Spastic", actually still sound pretty mind-blowing - those scuttling, insectoid 808 patterns!! Others are maybe a bit too samey and over-long (a regular problem with much electronica at that time) but things like the appropriately titled "Lasttrack" on "Muzik" sound lush and spiritual with those much-needed splashes of choral melody.

So then I thought I'd explore some of the music he's made in the interim with a view to posting an MP3 or two. But then I discovered Plastikman's web-site and realised I didn't need to. Get this: just about everything Hawtin released under the Plastikman name can be listened to, in full, at the site. There's no options to buy or download, but as long as you're happy to play 'em off the media player within the site, you can basically listen to any track, free of charge, any time. It's one of the most well-designed (in a fittingly minimal style, of course), generous artist's official sites I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. I cue'd up a whole bunch of tracks on the player - my PC's been spitting-out Plastikman shit all afternoon. Brilliant! If you fancy discovering or reassesing his music, give it a go...

Moving on, I got sent a link to this interesting thread at the Rinse FM forum. Basically, it's Plasticman and a whole bunch of others including Kode 9 kicking-off on the whole Grime Vs. Dubstep argument. Things get pretty heated in places. Anyone who's been following with interest my efforts to make some sense of it all should definitely read it, 'cos you're getting it straight from the horse's mouth.

MP3: Plasticman - Cha

I know I said no more MP3's this week, and I was intending to post this track sometime next week, but couldn't resist slipping it in now, whilst the topic is still reasonably 'hot'. This is the A-side of the twelve inch released a little while back on his own Terrorhythm imprint. Of all the alleged Dubstep/FWD producers, Plasticman seems to be the one who connects with 'true' Grime the most, and "Cha" is one of his tunes that most people 'in-the-know' seem to agree is genuinely Grimey. It's a minimal, relentless riddim with ominous bass drone who's sheer emptiness in the foreground is presumably highly conducive for MC's to bust a ryhme over the top. In the past, a successful club track had to be constructed in such a way that it was 'mixable', pandering to the needs of the DJ's. For a track to work as Grime, it must also give priority consideration to the MCs - allowing the space for lyrical flow to develop. Essentially, it must be constructed from the outset as a fluid wash of rhythmic background.