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Album review: Richie Hawtin - CLOSE

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Jeff Mills once predicted that instead of travelling for in-person performances, advances in telecommunications would allow DJs to stay in one place and broadcast their sets to clubs around the world simultaneously. Richie Hawtin's new project CLOSE is this process in reverse: three live sets in Glasgow, London and Tokyo stitched into one seamless, multi-angle video stream.

Taking inspiration from Mills' groundbreaking Exhibitionist DVD, cameras capture Hawtin's mixing close-up. As well as demystifying the creative process, the footage deliberately positions Hawtin as part of a generation of DJs for whom technical dexterity and complex blends are as important as the selection. "I believe that as our scene has become more popular, the definition of DJing has become more narrow," he says about CLOSE, doubtless aware that he's out of sync with the fashionable 'rough and ready' style of mixing.

Such a comprehensive document of an unrepentant techno set is a reclamation of the crown

As well as spinning heavy-duty techno from Kuvoka and Christian Hornbostel, Hawtin supplements these minimal tracks with his own analog synth and drum machine improvisations. The result is half DJ set and half live performance, with flecks of hypnotic acid thanks to Edit Select and a propulsive drum workout from Charlotte de Witte.

Musically, CLOSE represents a welcome return to the Tresor-ready techno which Hawtin made his name on in the early nineties under the Plastikman moniker. Enter his name into Google and you'll find legions of heads debating whether he lost his way in Ibiza, drifting towards the banalities of tech-house. In that sense, such a comprehensive document of an unrepentant techno set is a reclamation of the crown.

Sam Gregory

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