Decks, EFX & 909

by: Richie Hawtin

Decks, EFX & 909 is the next step for Richie Hawtin after his Mixmag live album from 1995 and the increasing minimalism of his subsequent Plastikman material (the Consumed LP). Hawtin displays not only his talents as a mixer but also as a producer, using turntables, an effects processor, and a Roland pedal, plus a TR-909 drum machine for added beats. An extension of his live sets (though not entirely recorded live), the album employs a degree of improvisation rarely heard on mix albums. Cycling through 38 tracks in just over an hour, Hawtin ranges through driving, minimalist techno with inclusions from Richard Harvey, Jeff Mills, Surgeon, Pacou, Heiko Laux, Vladislav Delay, Maurizio, Rhythm & Sound, Marco Carola, and a few of his own tracks. The result of Hawtin's obvious labor of love is a mix album that manages to be simultaneously intense and moody, pummeling yet restrained. The beats are clipped and precise, rarely deviating from a 120 BPM pace. Though fans might resent the fact that it wasn't recorded live, Decks, EFX & 909 simply couldn't have been done well in a live setting -- at times, Hawtin has four records spinning at once, and the layers of sound he adds to the show make this album a highly effective techno statement. Another devastating release from North America's most effective dancefloor experimentalist. ~ John Bush

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