Plastikman: EX — Performed live at the Guggenheim, NYC (CD, Mute, July 2014)

This summer featured the surprising re-emergence of two ’90s techno deities. I have raved elsewhere about the twenty-year-belated release of Aphex Twin’s Caustic Window. We also got a new release in eleven years from Richie Hawtin as Plastikman, the first since 2003’s staggeringly awesome Closer. This is actually a recording of a live performance at the Guggenheim. And it’s… y’know, it’s okay. It’s atmospheric, it flows well, there are some nice sounds in there. But that’s about it. One of the amazing things about Plastikman was always the incredibly architectural sound, I could close my eyes and the sounds would construct caverns and giant metal sculptures all around my head. By contrast, this just sounds flat. I like to think that it’s the live performance at fault. Maybe it’s just not possible to do that kind of magic in real-time. Or maybe it sounded amazing in the space and has lost something in translation to CD. It’s also very one-paced — apart from one jarring one moment halfway through the penultimate track, EXpire, where things rather abruptly kick off a bit… and then, rather than build on this, there’s a rather facile descending arpeggio and we’re back to blooping politely. Maybe he’d been intending a big finish, but the art crowd hadn’t responded well. Me, I’d rather just stick on Consumed and melt gently into my sofa.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Techno / House.

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