://

 

Richie.Hawtin@Monegros.Desert.Festival://Spain.

 

} de9.transitions {

Let’s go back to 2005. Richie Hawtin — a breakthrough minimal techno producer (wikipedia) (website) — released what I’ve always thought of as a breakthrough album which brought the experience of electronic music to another level. The album, DE9 Transitions (that’s a link to the DVD mix at Warp Tour 2005 accompanying the album) is full of brilliantly shaped dance songs mixed into an extremely minuscule format and I still think it’s dope as fuck.

It wasn’t until DE9 that I actually heard “minimal” and fell in love with the sound. Driven by a 4/4 beat, minimal is like a house beat with a standard dance rhythm. But because minimal techno tracks are so stripped down, the subtle introduction of one or two new sounds can have a tremendous impact. But why would anyone listen to music that is so basic? (and basically annoying.) The answer is minimal techno has to be mixed (by Richie Hawtin.) DE9 has 25 numbered tracks (each about 2 minutes), but each track is actually composed of about 6 or 7 separate tracks all mixed together. That’s about a hundred and fifty tracks in the set: and that’s a standard set.

Richie.Hawtin:// DE9.Transitions.

As he explains in a DVD commentary about Ableton Live which accompanied the album, here’s how Richie Hawtin mixes his sets: once an optimal beat-per-minute is found, all the tracks are matched and he is free to experiment with incredible spatial freedom. In the early days of techno, as he tells the story, there were no rules and DJs experimented immenely. With new technologies even more possibilities broke through. The spatial transition, as he calls it, is moving away from the traditional stereo field of music and into the 5.1 channels of maximum surround sound. It has totally changed the dynamic effect of dance music. This is the new minimal sound for a maximal environment. Richie Hawtin uses this spatial advantage to create organical and danceable sound environments, like non-mechanical “downmixes” — that’s what Able Live users call this style of DJing.

 

} the.minimal.aesthetic {

art.installation:// artist:Donald.Judd.

Around the time this album came out, I checked out a lecture from an art professor about minimalism in sculpture and painting. From her perspective, Donald Judd and other minimal artists developed the austere and very “American” form of art known as minimalism, which she said strives for geometric “perfection” and is immediately recognizable in its construction. A brief look at Judd’s art proves how noticeable it is — how being minimal makes it stand out so boldly. You notice every color, every solid, every shape in the construction. Judd uses industrial manufacturing to create perfect, solid-colored block shapes and other angular dimensions.

:// artist:Donald.Judd.

The minimal art trend is toward industrialization, but in fact, industrial one-of-a-kinds. In this way it sort of defeats the purpose of industrial design, because industry is based on scalability and replicability. A one-of-a-kind art piece is not a replica and isn’t a commodity per se, it is what it is! It could bought and sold, but that makes it a collector’s item, technically not a commodity, although trading it for money (which is a commodity) that’s what people mean by the commodification of art. Minimalism is so popular in contemporary art that if you make anything hand-made an art professor will say it’s very “post-minimalist” of you. Post-minimalism is aesthetically rejecting the grids and the seriality of minimal art, preferring hand-made and hand-crafted art instead. Post-minimal art does not look industrially-designed, but oddly, it could be — it’s just not supposed to look like it was.

} industry.sound {

detroit://MOTOWN.CITY.

So if minimal is like industrial design, let’s take the analogy further.

Detroit, home of the American auto industry, is also where techno music originated. Yet unlike minimalist art, the sound of minimal techno is not  designed like the industrial aesthetic. Richie Hawtin’s style could also be called IDM, intelligent dance music, with all of its static effects and slow sound movement built on top of the bed layers of kicks and drums. When I think of industrial dance music, I think of loud jarring sounds: hardcore tekno synths and non-stop NRG kicks. You know, that standard rave music! DE9 is not like that at all, and it doesn’t have any highly resonated sounds or synth pads at all. Its incredibly smooth and well-rounded. Geometrically it’s non-Euclidean.

In the beginning of minimal techno people said it was like the wine and cheese connoisseur party in the festival/party/dance culture. It’s supposed to be a pretentious scene, but probably only because a lot of it comes from continental Europe, and the American scene was more into breaks, glitch, house and trance at the time. People say about minimal techno: “All I hear is boink boink boink! It’s just a bunch of pops and squeaks.” Everyone has that mentality with new music. It takes a while to really hear it.

 

} e.motions. {

Urban.Expressionism.Squared ://artist: Limegintonic.

People like music because it is the most emotional art. Out all the ways art is expressed, music has the most direct and immediate emotional impact. Songs on the radio can make people ghost ride the whip or breakdown crying in a matter of moments, and for everything else, art seems to take a lot longer for that effect. Minimal techno, on the contrary, is not obviously emotional like most music. It isn’t late ’90s trance. It isn’t dubstep. There aren’t any hugely amplified synth buildups in minimal techno. No strings. No womp. All you get is “boink boink boink”!

To hear what minimal is — you have to listen to it for a while, for 15 minutes at least. You’ve got to hear some transitions, and that’s what DE9 Transitions was all about, because you’ve got to get into the groove flow. Then the logics of the rhythm surround your brain and, you realize, it’s more like trance than you thought! Except bouncier, because the beat is breathing at you. You’re like a snake, slowly being charmed out of the box from a flute rhythm. And since every sound in minimal techno is engineered to have that boinky percussive quality,a flute sample would have bounce packed into it too. Listen to some newer minimal tech house, like Patty Sue by Andhim, and notice how the organ pipe samples are made to be percussive.

 

} spatial.era. {

Austere repetitions and iterations characterize minimal painting and sculpture. Minimal is austere and repetitive. And your grandma will tell you techno music itself is repetitive and too austere. So it’s redundant to say “minimal techno” then — but that’s because minimal techno took “techno” to a greater extreme. Since there has been a post-minimalist movement in minimal painting and sculpture, minimal techno is really the post-minimal of techno. The Detroit techno of the mid-80s is the critical reference point for all techno after. Post-minimal is about creating hand-made art and not industrializing the craft. So, too, minimal techno is about hand-crafting and mixing dozens of tracks all at once to make something unique every single time — you’ve never heard this shit before in your life. Welcome to the spatial era. #

} You can listen and download DE9 Transitions for free here. {

} Richie Hawtin, from the DE9 Transitions DVD commentary:// {

#This article is published MoPro Crew
#Portland, Oregon area sound crew
###MOPROCREW.COM###

 

 

 

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

Solidarity:// artist:Artush.

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#