As Plastikman, Richie Hawtin is the king of reduction. But ‘Consumed In Key’, a collaboration with piano maestro Chilly Gonzales, is a radically different take on minimal techno, a step into uncharted territory that pushes both artists way beyond their comfort zones. The result is simply stunning
Music absorbed Richie Hawtin’s imagination when he was growing up in the suburbs of Windsor, Ontario. It began influencing him before he was even aware of it.
“When I was seven, my dad painted the back wall of my parents’ bedroom with the cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’,” says Hawtin. “He was always playing with the hi-fi and listening to lots of crazy music. At one point in my teenage years, I started going through his records and I found Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream… and they took me deeper. I remember listening to ‘Autobahn’ throughout high school, from beginning to end, and it was such an incredible journey. I loved the sounds – even though I didn’t know what they were at that point – synthesised, electronic, spacey sounds.”
For Hawtin, these early epiphanies hinted at the infinite potential of machine-made music, informing the records he would make as techno innovator and acid aficionado Plastikman. The Canadian artist’s first two Plastikman albums, ‘Sheet One’ (1993) and ‘Musik’ (1994), on which he used the squirming cyborg tones of the Roland TB-303 synth to craft melodic and mysterious acid tracks with a haunting splendour, quickly catapulted him into the public consciousness.
Despite the avowedly underground nature of these albums, Plastikman generated a huge popular following with his singular style and distinctive logo, before he retreated back to the lab to forge a series of minimalist masterpieces through the late 1990s and early 2000s, altering his output completely. Although he has since become an extremely famous DJ under his own name, Richie Hawtin’s work as Plastikman retains its enigmatic power.
Over the past year-and-a-half, Plastikman has ventured into unknown territory, creating a new album that takes him a long way outside his comfort zone. ‘Consumed In Key’ is a total reimagining of his sparse and atmospheric 1998 classic ‘Consumed’, made in collaboration with musical shapeshifter and provocateur Chilly Gonzales. It inhabits the cavernous sonic architecture of the original with eloquent piano that hints at classical, jazz and film music, preserving the spectral depletion of Hawtin’s earlier achievement but taking it into another dimension. It’s like Chopin or Debussy through a techno lens, with Miles Davis looking on and David Lynch in the director’s chair.
‘Consumed In Key’ is an addictive record that really transports you somewhere else. On ‘Converge (In Key)’, the rhythmic thump of the beat and the bass evokes the pumping of blood and fluttering of aortic chambers in a huge heart, while Chilly Gonzales’ subtle piano playing flows through a stream of sighing synths like tumbling platelets. ‘Cor Ten (In Key)’ echoes and throbs like some gigantic underground factory, as spellbinding notes are swept up on airy thermals. ‘Locomotion (In Key)’ opens with dubby effects and plangent chords, before the keys take on a sinister tone over the linear rhythm with a circular riff you might hear in a horror film.
What’s especially intriguing about ‘Consumed In Key’ is that it exists at all. Richie Hawtin and Chilly Gonzales (whose real name is Jason Beck) didn’t know each other before they came together for this record. While Gonzales has worked with electronic megastars such as Daft Punk, Peaches and Boys Noize, and his own discography features everything from electro to hip hop to instrumental piano vignettes, he hasn’t released anything approaching minimal techno before.
A classically trained concert pianist (and holder of the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous live performance of 27 hours), Gonzales’ previous material has often had a tongue-in-cheek or humorous component, although his ‘Solo Piano’ series has seen him lean into his mastery of the keyboard. He heard the original ‘Consumed’ for the first time a few years ago and, struck by its simplicity and its atmosphere, decided to try his hand at embellishing the tracks.
“The two of us collaborating will be a surprise for many,” admits Hawtin. “But the main feedback has been that people are enjoying this new sonic experience.”
Hawtin is speaking to me from Portugal, where he is escaping the often harsh late winter of Berlin, the city he’s called home for almost two decades. Dressed in customary monochrome hues, he’s sitting on an outdoor balcony, the screen doors behind him reflecting the towering apartment blocks opposite.
“It does seem a little surprising at first,” agrees Gonzales, talking as he walks through the streets of Cologne on a crisp, sunny, blue-sky day. “And then people go, ‘Wait a second, they’re both Canadian, both independent-thinking musicians, both known within their fields for doing things that don’t make sense immediately but retroactively always make sense’. I believe one of the reasons I was attracted to ‘Consumed’ is that the rhythms are different to what I would think of in electronic music. So for me, that means Richie is a like-minded musician from the get-go.”
Gonzales’ “demos” for ‘Consumed In Key’ – piano accompaniments he played over MP3s he had downloaded – were initially merely a hobby project for him. But when he played them to Tiga, another Canadian artist and a mutual friend, the concept began to crystallise in the weird hinterland of the first pandemic lockdowns.
“Tiga loved it,” says Gonzales. “I think he was hungry for something new. It was around April or May in 2020 that I sent him the first three demos and right away he said, ‘I’m going to try to make this happen. I know Richie. Let’s see what he thinks’.”
“Music is about timing – period,” says Hawtin. “And this was absolutely on point when Tiga called. He’s a long-time friend and he’s always been a complete Plastikman fanatic. When he brought up this idea and started explaining it to me, it already had a weight of authenticity. I knew he wouldn’t broach the subject unless he felt there was something in it, so I had to take it seriously. He explained that Chilly was behind it and that demos had already been done. As much as I was apprehensive to listen to them, I knew about Chilly and his position in the industry. I had to respect that an artist had taken the trouble to do this of their own free will.”
“I was in love with the original ‘Consumed’,” explains Tiga. “It was an album I had listened to deeply hundreds of times and one that I held in the highest regard. The idea – and the problem – of integrating it with Chilly Gonzales’ piano playing, of the clash of those worlds, was really appealing. Plus, Chilly rarely told me that he loved an electronic record, so it was an exciting proposition.”
As Hawtin came to understand Gonzales’ vision, he cast his mind back to the making of ‘Consumed’. He noticed a parallel between the isolation he’d felt then and the lack of human contact we have all experienced in the last two years.
“When I was doing the album, I was in the dead of winter in Canada,” remembers Hawtin. “I was hardly talking to anybody. It was just me and the machines. Over 20 years later, when we got to the mixing stage of this new record, it was a similar situation. It was just me and Chilly and the machines.”
Released in 1998, ‘Consumed’ was a radical departure from Plastikman’s earlier dreamy acid and fierce percussion tracks, stripping back his sound to its bare bones. Similarly, ‘Consumed In Key’ is considerably different to anything Richie Hawtin has done before – and it’s a record he hopes will resonate.
“‘Consumed’ was a huge surprise for the public when it came out, especially for the Plastikman fans who were expecting melodically driven acid, the ‘Sheet One’ type of thing,” he says. “I love that the original album was challenging when people first heard about it or listened to it. And perhaps this rendition is doing the same thing. I think when you do challenge people, you make waves and get their attention.”
Beyond its significance as a techno landmark, ‘Consumed’ has taken on another life, with the likes of sculptor Anish Kapoor and fashion designer Raf Simons citing it as an inspiration. Simons even invited Hawtin to perform for him at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2013. With its clean lines and multi-dimensional elements, the album is almost like an audio installation and, interestingly, Hawtin says Kapoor and other visual artists were a big influence on him when he was recording it.
“I do think it’s very architectural,” he notes. “It’s a word that I used when it first came out. It’s about architecture and space.”
Hawtin was also reading a lot of jazz biographies in the late 90s, including the renowned ‘Miles: The Autobiography’ by Miles Davis, whose understated, barely-there trumpet playing, displayed on albums like ‘In A Silent Way’, made a clear imprint on ‘Consumed’.
“The idea of not playing notes and missing notes, of allowing a space between them or allowing people to hear things that aren’t there, was a huge concept that I interpreted from Miles Davis’ words,” says Hawtin.
The use of space was one of the aspects that attracted Chilly Gonzales to the project. His earliest records featured the evocative soundtrack sampladelia of songs like ‘Let’s Groove Again’, but his 2004 album ‘Solo Piano’ was a very different beast. The short and stunning piano pieces found a wider audience and gradually became a series, with ‘Solo Piano III’ appearing in 2018.
As an artist who has tried to reconcile the rigidity of his classical training with an urge to experiment, Gonzales was immediately impressed by ‘Consumed’, which is why he wanted to see if his playing would sit in that context.
“I struggled a long time with some of the traps of being a trained musician,” he explains. “Overplaying, the temptation to show off rather than connect… these are things that took me years to get over – to unlearn, in a sense. The confidence that’s in the space on ‘Consumed’, I had heard nothing like that in electronic music before. It felt fresh, like another category of depth. It instantly made me wonder if I might have something to say that would go alongside that, rather than on top of it.”
With Tiga on board as executive producer, Hawtin and Gonzales collaborated remotely on ‘Consumed In Key’, Hawtin working to embed and complement the piano in a way that made sense to the original sound of the record. ‘In Side (In Key)’ is one of the few tracks where the Plastikman acid tones are evident, the 303s bubbling up under the arrangement with malevolent intent, while Gonzales’ playing is restrained yet similarly disquieting. On ‘Contain (In Key)’, the eerie notes cascade in an intense dub zone, drifting like dust motes, with Hawtin adding delay effects to heighten the mood.
“Chilly’s contributions made me sit down and listen very carefully,” he says. “I took my time to reach an opinion about them, not rushing to a judgement of saying, ‘How could somebody approach filling up or adding to an album that was so much about reduction?’. After hearing the first three demos, there were moments where I thought it was beautiful and respectful to ‘Consumed’, but there were other moments where I wasn’t sure. It grabbed me enough to know we had to continue, though.”
Gonzales, meanwhile, admits he found the project tough, especially in terms of trying to determine how to incorporate his world into Hawtin’s.
“How do you make a work that seems like a closed universe open up again?” he questions. “I often thought, ‘What if someone decided to add beats to ‘Solo Piano’?’. That’s maybe the best analogue I can think of – no pun intended – for how Richie must have felt.
“Some of the ideas came instantly. But then there were other portions where I had to study them like I would study a classical score back in the day in order to really understand, ‘OK, what is Franz Liszt actually trying to say here? How do I see into this architecture to be able to do justice to the material?’. That process was more frustrating, but also more rewarding. It led to moments of actual tears of release in a couple of cases.”
Hawtin and Gonzales are both keen to point out that ‘Consumed In Key’ is not a remix album. Gonzales says he sees it as closer to the variations of pieces that occur in classical music. And there is already some precedent for the techno and classical realms colliding in this way, with Carl Craig and Moritz Von Oswald just two of the contemporary artists who have contributed to this dialogue, composing new takes on Ravel and Mussorgsky.
“I don’t consider ‘Consumed In Key’ to be a remix at all,” notes Hawtin. “I think I was scared of it being a remix at the beginning, and when I received Chilly’s parts and went into the studio, my first attempts were also trying to remix it, to bring everything into the universe of ‘Consumed’. But as I listened more, and understood more about Chilly as an artist, it started to take on a different life.”
“I think the ‘re’ is what we’re trying to get away from,” adds Gonzales. “I’m not someone who has internalised the general cultural signifier of the remix, or what remix culture is. I know it’s an important part of electronic music, and hip hop of course, with sampling. However, there’s something called the Urtext that I’ve talked about here and there. It’s a German word for the sanctity of the original text. That doesn’t mean you don’t compose a theme with variations, which I suppose would be the closest thing to a remix in classical music, but I did not play a note that wasn’t somehow hinted at in the original. I think that means this is not a remix.”
One thing that made it possible for Gonzales to add his augmentations to ‘Consumed In Key’ was his distance from the techno scene. Free from the codes, customs and strictures of the genre, he felt able to contribute without limitations, adding something truly original in the process.
“Hearing ‘Consumed’ for the first time some 20 years after it came out and not being an insider of that scene – unlike Tiga – meant I was free from a kind of reverence that might have scuttled the whole thing,” says Gonzales. “I remember when my hands played the hands of Serge Gainsbourg in the biopic of his life. Not being French and not really rating Gainsbourg or knowing much about him was the reason they chose me to do it. They said, ‘No French musician can see Gainsbourg with any kind of objectivity’.”
I have another conversation with Richie Hawtin a few days later. This time, he’s in his happy place – in the recording studio. His hair is back to the trademark Hawtin undercut and he’s surrounded by synths, drum machines and effects units of every size and shape, crowding the racks and shelves behind him.
“It’s not a virtual backdrop, it’s the real thing!” he grins.
Hawtin was born in the UK, in Oxfordshire, and his family moved to Canada when he was nine. They settled in Windsor, Ontario, a mere half a mile from the US border. The lights of Detroit were a tantalising sight, viewed at a distance over the vast river that separates the two cities. There wasn’t a huge amount to do in Windsor and, as an electronic music fan, he was considered an outcast by most of his peers.
“There was no scene in Windsor and I was like one of the weird kids in school,” he says. “There were five of us who wore black and were into goth and electronic music. Most people thought we were gay and heckled us. There was one great shop in Windsor called Sound Effects and they got a lot of the 80s industrial records, plus Mute stuff from London and Nettwerk stuff from Vancouver. But at some point, you’ve kind of exhausted everything and you have to go further. That was when I started crossing into Detroit, which was where I really found out what clubbing was all about.”
Hawtin’s expeditions to Detroit led to his discovery of techno – the music the Motor City has been justly famous for since the late 1980s. He started DJing soon afterwards and set up the Plus 8 label with fellow spinner John Acquaviva in 1990, the imprint becoming a successful outlet for foundational artists such as Detroit’s own Kenny Larkin and Dutch pioneer Speedy J, as well as arch minimalist Daniel Bell, who Hawtin worked with under the name Cybersonik.
It was Hawtin’s solo material as F.U.S.E. that began to attract the attention of audiences outside of Detroit. The 1991 track ‘Substance Abuse’ – a hard-as-nails stomp with acerbic acid frequencies – got him noticed internationally. Another track, ‘F.U.’, meanwhile demonstrated his command of mesmeric rhythms, albeit augmented by claps that sound like an industrial drop hammer.
A one-off white label 12-inch with Leeds techno duo LFO followed in 1993 and piqued the interest of Warp Records in the UK. A few months later, Warp issued the debut F.U.S.E. album, ‘Dimension Intrusion’, as part of their acclaimed ‘Artificial Intelligence’ series. In keeping with Hawtin’s early singles, it combined ambient electronics with IDM pieces such as ‘A New Day’ and was an embryonic hint of where he might go next.
The first Plastikman record arrived around the same time. Released on Daniel Miller’s techno sub-label NovaMute, ‘Spastik’ was a percussive maelstrom that stripped away any intricacies and niceties, focusing entirely on the beats. It felt like something brand new and was quickly heralded as one of the key records of the minimal techno drive pioneered by Hawtin and other innovators such as Robert Hood and Daniel Bell.
But it was ‘Sheet One’, Plastikman’s debut album, that really caused a stir. The cover art, depicting the dancing, slightly sinister Plastikman logo, was striking and the tunes within were decidedly different. ‘Plasticity’ had acid lines that unfurled dreamily in echoic reverb space and ‘Glob’, with its spacey 303 riff and funked-up rhythms, was suitable for both clubs and headphone head trips. Perhaps best of all was ‘Plasticine’, where the acid line materialised slowly, like a hallucination, and was by turns poignant, exquisite and unnerving.
According to Hawtin, the album was born from a desire to create electronic music that was neither ambient nor banging, but somewhere in-between. He particularly wanted to craft a record that had a narrative thread, like the classic electronica he’d grown up listening to.
“‘Sheet One’ was recorded in one session,” he says. “It had this hypnotic sense I was trying to get to. Most of the electronic albums back then were just compilations of everybody’s singles, so it was all kind of ‘boom, boom, boom’. At first, I didn’t know ‘Sheet One’ was going to be a Plastikman record, but I remember sitting down to do something that was going to be a real album. The reference points were the great journeys you would go on with Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream.”
From the outset, Hawtin was keen to push the techno form into new areas. The genius of Plastikman was to put the Roland TB-303 acid box centre stage, in a way that revealed its capacity for emotion and sensuality, rather than being a device for making corrosive noise.
“Many of us in the industry were like, ‘How does this music reach beyond the clubs? How do we make this more like something for our everyday lives?’,” says Hawtin. “Something to wake up to, to listen to in your living room and in your dining room, as well as in the clubs. Because we were living it. And that needed a different type of output and a different album.
“I was getting sick of hard acid tracks too. I think the acid machine is beautiful and I was trying to find the beauty I’d heard in some of the early acid house records, even in Phuture, and make it more slippery and slidey. There was a lot of octave jumping and slides [an effect you can program on the 303 to make notes ease into one another], which is very sexy. That was what I was trying to get. Even when it gets reduced in ‘Consumed’, you can hear that. It’s hypnotic and still driving, but not really abrasive.”
Early copies of the ‘Sheet One’ CD came with an inlay perforated to resemble a sheet of LSD tabs and the psychedelic sounds of the album reflected the acid-soaked parties Hawtin was DJing at in Detroit. That’s also where the name Plastikman came from. The music took on the psychotropic tone of the last hours of the nights, as the drugs began to wear off and Hawtin dialled everything down, the dancers responding by moving with a spontaneus elasticity and a sinuousness.
“We were into acid, we were tripping out,” he admits. “There was always a moment towards the end of my sets – hour five or hour six – where I’d start playing super-minimal stuff, or playing tracks slower than they should be, and people would do this fluid dancing. They looked like they had plasticity.
“There was another moment at the end of the parties, where we were all kind of lying around, coming down, and feeling like we were melting into the floor. There was a certain side of me that came out through those experiences which I channelled into ‘Sheet One’ and what came afterwards.”
Hawtin conjured up a similar sense of magic with ‘Musik’ in 1994, the album further crystallising the Plastikman sonic identity with more emotive and contemplative acid tracks. The downtempo electro cut ‘Plastique’ was the centrepiece, with its interlacing 303 lines and crisp drums, while ‘Lasttrak’ added ethereal pads to a squiggling riff and ‘Marbles’ was profoundly repetitive, an update on the innovations of Phuture’s ‘Acid Tracks’. There were surprises as well, like the funky bass and hand percussion of ‘Ethnik’ and the warping didgeridoo synth that drove ‘Outbak’.
“Plastikman was always rhythmic and it had acidity and sometimes intensity, but then it also had this storytelling, this dynamic,” says Hawtin, in summation of his archetypal sound. “That dynamic is in every album. Rhythm is an important factor, but so is flow and timing, how I’m hearing things and feeling things. It’s all part of the journey, part of what’s embedded into the Plastikman personality.”
’Sheet One’ and ‘Musik’ propelled Hawtin into the full glare of the limelight. Plastikman logo T-shirts were everywhere in the mid-90s and plenty of techno heads tried to emulate Hawtin’s shaven-headed, bespectacled, slightly otherworldly lab technician look. Plastikman was suddenly in demand as the remixer du jour too, overhauling tracks by X-Press 2, Hardfloor, La Funk Mob and lots more.
Despite their underground nature, his albums were extraordinarily popular, in part thanks to their melodic nous, but also due to their sense of mystery.
“Those records play with you, giving you a hook and bringing you in, and then releasing it and going deeper than you would have expected,” explains Hawtin. “There’s definitely something there with the intimacy, the beauty, the catchiness of just the 303. If you let that machine be kind of pure and you don’t over-process it, it’s such a beautiful sound.”
The success of ‘Sheet One’ and ‘Musik’ resulted in a dilemma for the artist, though. On the brink of a mainstream breakthrough, Hawtin knew he could capitalise on this by producing more commercial material, but he hated the idea of compromising his art.
“I felt a bit painted into the corner after ‘Musik’,” he says. “It felt like there was this pressure… I’m not saying a pressure from the record company, but maybe internally. It was like, ‘OK, everything is expanding now, so do I make a third album and try to become a main stage performer?’.”
In the end, a life-changing event forced his hand. On 19 April 1995, a domestic terror attack in Oklahoma City by white supremacist Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people. The day after, Hawtin was driving from his home in Canada to play a gig in New York accompanied by his brother, ambient musician and visual artist Matthew Hawtin, when they were pulled over by police officers suspicious of their skinhead haircuts. Without the right papers, Hawtin was detained for several hours and then ejected from the US. His girlfriend, his work, his social life, his whole focus was in Detroit, but it was 18 months before he was able to cross the border again.
“I got thrown out of America,” he says. “All this shit happened and, as a result, I went more cerebral with my music again. So ‘Concept 1’ [a series of 12-inch singles issued over the course of 12 months] was this year-long project where I didn’t allow myself to use a 303 or many of my other machines. That enabled me to experiment with extreme minimalism, leaning a lot on effects rather than sounds.
“Those ideas then transferred into the Plastikman sessions. ‘Concept 1’ was made in 1996 and it was September 1997 when I went into the ‘Consumed’ sessions. I was taking everything I had learned from ‘Concept 1’ and saying, ‘OK, now I can allow the 303s to come back into the mix, but keep them at a distance so we don’t go straight back into ‘Sheet One’ and ‘Musik’ territory’.”
‘Consumed’ felt like the onset of a new Plastikman phase and a new period in Hawtin’s life in general. He and John Acquaviva put Plus 8 on hold and Hawtin launched another label, Minus, usually styled as M_nus or M-nus. Everything, he claims, was about stripping things down to their core elements.
“I was just trying to find a way to make a Hawtin record without falling into those same traps,” he says. “I also felt quite uninspired by the techno that was coming out at that point. It was very hard to find good stuff and there were a lot of copycats. After seven or eight years of touring, I was like, ‘Man, is this it?’. That pushed me to innovate more and reduce further. My challenge was, ‘Can I make a Plastikman record with 303s, but try to make the 303s disappear as much as possible?’.”
This period initiated a modern minimal direction that has come to define Hawtin’s art. Finding a fresh lease of life when he moved to Berlin in 2003, he released the album ‘Closer’, kicked M_nus into gear, and threw himself into the city’s club scene. His look changed and his DJing style became more futuristic, inspired by the technological advances of the day. In 2005, he released the momentous ‘DE9 | Transitions’ mix CD, which saw him slicing snippets of more than 100 tracks into loops and merging them together into a novel work with the aid of pioneering software. Hailed by both the dance press and mainstream music publications as a masterpiece, it was the first DJ mix of its kind.
Hawtin championed upcoming producers like Magda, Troy Pierce, Marc Houle, Gaiser and Loco Dice with releases on M_nus. At the same time, his DJ bookings went through the roof. By the mid-2000s, the minimal techno style he’d helped to shape was the dominant club sound and Hawtin became a superstar, headlining Sven Väth’s massive Cocoon club nights at Amnesia in Ibiza, before starting his own ENTER. events at the island’s historic Space venue in 2012. Despite his best efforts to remain in the shadows, it seemed impossible for Hawtin to evade the public eye.
But it wasn’t long before his Plastikman alter ego beckoned again and in 2014 he released ‘EX’, his first album in 11 years. A collection of tracks recorded in a single session at the Guggenheim Museum, it merged the acidity of his earlier material with the sleek aesthetic that marks his later work. Hawtin put the melodic 303s back upfront, while tunes like ‘EXtrude’, with its ominous synth pads, growling bass tones and tough beats, showed he’d lost none of his fire.
“After I landed in Berlin, it was several years of partying and growing M_nus and just DJing,” says Hawtin. “It was so intense. There was no room to do much of my own music. I was loving playing everyone else’s stuff, loving leading all the A&R of the label, loving helping new artists come up… that was so fresh and exciting.
“By 2014, some of the M_nus structure was changing and some of it was crumbling. I was like, ‘OK, was it wrong to put my producer career on hold while I was incubating and helping everybody else?’. So the album ‘EX’ was very introspective and a bit sad because things were adjusting – relationships and friendships. When I’m in that kind of emotional state, I usually find a lot of comfort in the studio with my machines.”
Back in the here and now, Hawtin is excited about the release of ‘Consumed In Key’ and is weighing up how it’s being received by fans. Plastikman and Chilly Gonzales seem to be such a natural fit on this record that it raises the question of whether they might join forces again in the future.
“It’s the best I could have hoped for with this type of work,” declares Hawtin. “So where do you go from there? The whole experience was inspiring and challenging… and I think right now we need to just enjoy the outcome of this wonderful opportunity that Chilly started.”
“You can’t compare it to the usual collaborations,” adds Gonzales. “As Richie said, now is the moment we can finally sit back and say, ‘Oh wow, this is why we went through all that, this is why it was so epic’.”
“I think our next collaboration is having dinner and a glass of wine together, which we still haven’t done after making this album for one-and-a-half years,” grins Hawtin.
What is certain is there will be more Plastikman material to come. Hawtin says being back in the studio recently has been important to his sense of well-being.
“The only thing I wanted during Covid was to be surrounded by music projects,” he notes. “To learn and to keep learning in the studio. ‘Consumed In Key’ has taken me back into my past and then on into the future, because I had to learn different techniques and understand working with acoustic instruments when I was mixing. It really took me back into that cerebral mind of Hawtin. I’m in there now and I want to try to continue living there for a while. I want to see where that takes me again.”
Ultimately, Plastikman is the place and persona where Richie Hawtin feels most himself, which is probably why his records continue to resonate so many years after their creation.
“It’s a very personal project,” he concludes. “I always say that Plastikman is much closer to the real Hawtin than what you get when I’m onstage. I’ve grown into that extrovert DJ personality, but Plastikman is me. It’s me, exactly here, in the studio. When you feel that, you have to follow where it takes you.”
‘Consumed In Key’ is out now on Turbo