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Plastikman 

Closer (Mute)

In the press release that accompanies Closer, Richie Hawtin's latest release as Plastikman, Hawtin claims that listening to the disc is "as close thus far to how my mind really works" as he's ever been. If that's true, then Hawtin must be one scary dude.

Nearly all of the 10 tracks on Closer feel like a passage through some grim desert plain. The warm ambient swaths of daylight that Hawtin coaxes out of his studio machinery morph into chilly, ominous darkness at alarming speeds. Clouds stream overhead as though moving across celluloid in fast-forward, and when the moon emerges, every rhythmic throb, twitch, and twitter of Hawtin's stark minimalism mimics some jagged angle in the landscape.

The only thing that really sticks out as extraneous in this vast, colorless expanse is Hawtin's own voice, chanted in very deliberate cadence and stripped down to its sub-bass component. Though these rumbling mantras undoubtedly reflect the voices careening through the paths of Hawtin's thoughts, most of the lyrics are trite and angst-ridden; they're the one part of the album that brings the listener a little too close for comfort.

More by Steve Boughton

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