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A Magazine for

EX

If there’s one claim you can’t level at minimal techno figurehead Richie Hawtin, it’s that he doesn’t take him seriously enough. Typically dressed from head to toe in black and sporting a floppy-fringed haircut clinically designed for the perfect impatiently cavalier flick, his holiday snaps from his recent performance at Sonar in Barcelona are unlikely to include any shots of him wearing a sangria-stained vest and wafting his knob about in Park Güell.

I’m going to give you forewarning that you may want to be sitting down for this next bit, because I’m about to drop the bombshell that the latest album under his iconic Plastikman moniker, EX, recorded live at New York’s Guggenheim Museum as part of an installation backed by Dior’s artistic director Raf Simons, is not exactly ‘It’s A Wiggly Wiggly World!’ by The Wiggles when it comes to light-hearted listening. In fact, it’s so po-faced that during my third listen I had to take a quick timeout for a ten minute burst of The B-52’s, just to boost my dangerously sagging frivolity levels.

For all its unrelenting sobriety, EX isn’t a bad record. It’s well honed, full of complex and beguiling structures, and demonstrates Hawtin’s long-established ability to craft what I suppose we should, in keeping with the nature of the music, earnestly describe as ‘a journey’ over the course of an album. The pitfall is that it’s all just a bit dull. Granted, online video clips of EX live at the Guggenheim and Sonar hint at a typically spectacular accompanying live show, hinged around a towering, 2001-style obelisk lit up with lasers, but it’s not a record that begs many home listens. Someone give that man a multipack of Mentos and a bottle of Coke, sharp.