DE9: Transitions

by: Richie Hawtin

Extending the concept behind 2001's DE9: Closer to the Edit, a project that utilized Final Scratch, DE9: Transitions takes advantage of the increased possibilities brought forth by the software Ableton Live. Richie Hawtin further distorts the notion of a standard selection, combining often-treated elements from several tracks at once, to such an extent that he gives the amalgams his own titles. The Detroit Grand Pubahs' "Dr. Bootygrabber," False's "River Camping," Galoppierende Zuversicht's "Linguini al Denta," Heartthrob's "Golum," Ricardo Villalobos' "A5," Sleep Archive's "Elephant Island," and three of Hawtin's own productions are swept into this brand-new vortex and come out as "Minimission," throwing off the common response to hearing a track on a mix and desiring to hunt it down on its original state. In other words, you won't be able to obtain any of the commercially available tracks within that track and hear them the same way, and playing them all simultaneously would be as pleasant on the ear as several sets of baby booties flopping around in a dryer. Another way to observe the extreme otherness is to scan the track credits and spot the repeat contributors, like Villalobos, who shows up over 20 times (thus potentially giving a mixtape traditionalist like Nick Hornby a heart attack) and probably wouldn't be able to identify all of his appearances; while the reverberant rhythm of Stewart Walker's "Lakewalking" and the ambient vocal wash of Pantytec's "Micromission" can be sniffed out without much difficulty, a lot of sources are used for a single note or blip. But the real testament to Hawtin's vision is that the mix is more linear than any other released in 2005, riding a steady gradient that could fool non-geeks into thinking that this is a standard-form techno mix with no obvious inclusions, even though dozens of up-to-date favorites and a few decades-old classics factor in. The stability of the sequencing is such that listening in one concentrated effort can make it more draining than the average dance mix. If you do find that your appetite for cushiony bass-drum thrums, knife-slit accents, wobbly-yet-constricted noise effects, and displaced vocal samples isn't completely satisfied, there's an MP3 on the accompanying DVD that presents the mix in its original 95-minute incarnation. The DVD also contains the mix in 5.1 Surround Sound, along with a couple videos, live material, and an interview. Stripped of all context and background information, Transitions remains a thoroughly thrilling, multi-functional disc that places early-2000s minimal techno in the best possible light. ~ Andy Kellman

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