Plastikman – Kompilation

There’s a million things I could say about Richie Hawtin and M_nus to frame this review but I’ll summarise the feedback with what we’ve all been thinking during recent years. Something stinks, and it ain’t the tea. Thankfully then, here is a release that eschews most of the M_nus pretence and takes us back to a time before Cubes, comb-overs, and caricatures. In short, this release is all about the music.

Yes kids, it’s Hawtin as his seminal alter-ego Plastikman, with a greatest hits package not coincidentally coming on the back of a ‘World Tour’ that covered at a few festivals in Europe and the US this summer.

The Kompilation covers the breadth of Plastikman’s ‘90s heyday in just eight tracks, but a full CD’s worth of music. There’s the early acid influence of Plasticine, and also from 1993 is the track that’s still his most prominent, Spastik. But the album has many more less well-known gems, and the industrial sounds aren’t always so abrasive. 1994’s Kriket is an electronic approximation of a still night punctured by that insect’s hum, looping and looping, before drum loops join the fray – but with restraint. There’s no floor-friendly bassline to guide your dancing feet. But that’s not always the point.

Yes, the album does have its artistic moments, but its exploration of the many facets of the decade, when acid went minimal and spat out what we now know as techno, is never uninteresting. And there’s certainly moments when you’ll be bopping along. Another drum machine tribute to a real world sound, Helikopter, is pitched-up techno heaven. 1997’s Panikattack is as funky as percussion-only loopism gets, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

The notes on the review copy’s jacket pre-empts the upcoming Arkives, a 14 DVD/CD and book box-set that’s coming in a couple of months. So it would seem that this Kompilation really is only an entrée for the main event – and one that sounds much more compelling a prospect. But if you’re only just discovering the darker, purer side of minimal, then this taster will give you a great primer on one of the important foundation stones of modern techno.

Kompilation is out now on Minus through Inertia.