Shazam’s Music Of The Decade: Richie Hawtin
Ever the one for high concepts and pushing new boundaries, Richie Hawtin’s ‘Closer To The Edit’ was a startlingly ambitious project that that fused the role of DJ and producer like never before. The compilation combined elements of over 123 tracks, mixing them together live at a furious turntablist-esque pace using Final Scratch: a then brand new computer program that allowed DJ’s to play digital files on vinyl like never before. Much of the time only tiny snippets of records were used in the mix, perhaps a hiss of high hat or rumble of sub bass, but the overall effect was to create a seamless collage of spacious futuristic techno. Many of the tracks played on the album where edited by Hawtin himself before they were played – further blurring the lines to whether ‘Closer To The Edit’ can be called a DJ mix album, remix album or entirely original composition. Although ‘Closer To The Edit’ was highly conceptual and faced criticism from some vinyl traditionalists at the time; the move to digital DJ systems was one of the key factors that drove dance music on throughout the noughties as programs like Ableton helped DJ’s and producers perform their music in ways unimaginable in the ‘90’s.
The music too on ‘Closer To The Edit’ was an interesting turning point in the evolution of electronic music. Featuring much slower Techno sounds than Hawtin’s previous album, ‘Decks EFX & 909’s’, the shift to more sparse, hypnotic and stripped down sounds would pre-empt the minimal techno surge of the mid noughties which would see acts like Ricardo Villalobos and Matthew Dear become some of the most world’s most celebrated underground artists. Released in 2001, ‘Closer To The Edit’ perfectly encapsulates Techno’s love of the forward thinking and helped mark Richie Hawtin as one of the shining lights of the electronic scene for the next 9 years.